For those involved in the rural economy, here are some key points from Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak’s opening remarks at the UK Farm to Fork Summit at Downing Street, where he makes a few promises. He does not make much mention of dairy, however.
We unequivocally back British Farming. If you want the full speech, do click the link.
So firstly, to avoid a repeat of the shortages we’ve seen on our shelves, we need to help all of you grow and sell more fruit and veg all year round.
We’re going to make it easier to build glasshouses, and we’re going to look at how our industrial energy policies can provide further support for glasshouses and that type of farming.
We’re going to include glasshouses in our new and expanded Fruit and Vegetable Scheme.
And we’ll also intervene in the market for horticulture and eggs – just as we did with pork and dairy – to ensure that you get a fair price for your produce.
Second, we want to give British farmers greater freedoms to make the best use of their existing buildings, whether that’s for a Diddly Squat style farm shop or a processing facility.
So we’re going to consult on targeted changes to the planning system that enable exactly that and support our rural economy.
And thirdly, we’ve already expanded the Seasonal Worker visas for horticulture and poultry through to next year.
But for you to plan, we know that you need to know the numbers, so today I can confirm another 45,000 visas for next year, with the capacity for a further top up of 10,000 and I know that’s something many of you have asked for and I’m pleased that we can deliver that today.
And fourthly, we’re going to put British farming where it belongs at the very heart of British trade by setting out principles for our trade negotiators which build on the positive, engaged approach we had when it came to CPTPP.
And that includes protecting sensitive sectors, prioritising new export opportunities including with funding for seafood and dairy sectors today.
Removing market access barriers, and without exception, protecting UK food standards under all existing and future Free Trade Agreements.
So no Chlorine Washed Chicken. No hormone treated beef. Not now. Not ever.