The Queen’s Speech, setting out the Government’s legislative programme for the next two years includes an Agriculture Bill that will set out how farmers will be supported post-Brexit.
The Queen’s Speech, which took place today amid all the usual pomp and ceremony, was dominated by Brexit, as Prime Minister Theresa May seeks to revive her ailing standing.
Bills of relevance to agriculture included (the full list can be seen on the BBC website):
- This measure will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and convert EU law into UK law
- The UK Parliament (and where appropriate, the devolved legislatures) will be free to make any future changes to its laws
The bill will ensure:
- the UK has a standalone UK customs regime on exit
- flexibility to accommodate future trade agreements with the EU and others
- that changes can be made to the UK’s VAT and excise regimes on exit from the EU, whatever the outcome of negotiations
- the government can collect payments of customs duties, administer the customs regime and tackle duty evasion
- control over the import and export of goods
- puts in place a legal framework to allow Britain to strike free trade deals with countries around the world while ensuring domestic businesses are protected from unfair trading practices
- enables the government to end the free movement of EU nationals into the UK, but still allows the country to attract “the brightest and the best”.
- EU nationals and their families will be “subject to relevant UK law”
- This measure will ensure an effective system is in place to support UK farmers and protect the natural environment after the UK leaves the EU and therefore the Common Agricultural Policy.
New Defra Secretary Michael Gove has been going out of his way to stress his support for the sector since his appointment, pledging to ‘champion UK farmers’ during an NFU reception in the House of Commons on Tuesday.