Amendment to the Motion

Part of Agriculture (Delinked Payments and Consequential Provisions) (England) Regulations 2023 - Motion to Approve – in the House of Lords am 5:30 pm ar 13 Rhagfyr 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Ceidwadwyr 5:30, 13 Rhagfyr 2023

My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for bringing these regulations before us this afternoon in what has been a particularly busy week for him at COP 28. Most of the concerns that I was going to raise regarding the potential for regulatory gaps have been covered at some length; I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman of Ullock, for that. I am delighted to follow the noble Earl, who also resides in North Yorkshire.

I am a frequent visitor to the mart at Thirsk. I have a small number of shares in it; no one else was going to buy them so I thought that they must be good value and that I should buy them. I suppose that I must declare an interest: I have one lot—not a lot but one lot—of shares in Thirsk mart, of which I am immensely proud. North Yorkshire has one of the two largest fat-stock marts in the whole of England and plays a pivotal role in livestock production, not just in the north of England but in Scotland and other parts of the UK. The message that I get from farmers when I visit the mart and other parts of North Yorkshire is that they are deeply concerned about one aspect of the changes being made. In preparing for this SI, I consulted the Tenant Farmers Association in particular, which believes that the Government have carried out what they committed to do in implementing the regulations in a way that protects the value of payments to tenant farmers. My noble friend the Minister will be aware that that is one of my main concerns.

Increasingly, however, whether they are landowners, tenant farmers or farmers on small family farms, farmers need certainty and clarity—this is the point that I think my noble friend the Minister must tell us—about when we are going to have more detail on the sustainable farming initiative. That is what is holding back a lot of investment that might otherwise be made. In his introductory remarks, my noble friend clearly stated that the delinking and the new payments that he is bringing forward through these regulations, which are welcome for the most part, mean that farmers face a situation where direct payments will be phased out before they know the real content of the SFI and all the other payments. I leave my noble friend with a thought—indeed, a plea. Can we have this information and the details at the earliest possible stage, either in another SI or just in some document that he can release to all the farmers affected?