Agriculture bill becomes law: impact on welfare standards

Date : 16 November 2020

Whatever the outcome of trade talks with the EU, procedures for exporting food and drink from the UK to the EU will change from January 2021.

The Agriculture Bill passed into law on Wednesday 11 November. 

The bill includes the following:

  • Farmers in England will have a seven-year transition period to adapt to a new agricultural system
  • Farmers in England will be rewarded in the future with public money for “public goods” such as better air and water quality (but not to produce food itself).
  • This new system will replace the Basic Payment Scheme subsidy system
  • The government will report on UK food security to Parliament every three years, starting at the end of 2021

Amendments were rejected by MPs that would have guaranteed all imported food would be produced to equivalent high standards to those in Great Britain.

The new bill ensures The Trade and Agriculture Commission will produce a report on the impact of each new trade deal on the maintenance of standards. These reports will be laid before parliament.

This comes at a time when IGD ShopperVista research reveals that shoppers are becoming increasingly concerned that EU exit may result in products that are produced with poorer ethical standards.

Concerns are highest among women (52%), 18-45s (55%), ABC1s (53%) and those living in Wales (63%) and South England (54%).

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