Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Questions House of Commons


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Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Questions

Live coverage of questions in the House of Commons to the environment, food and rural affairs secretary Michael Gove and his team of ministers.


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And in the House of Commons. And

Barbara Keeley will ask the question

0:00:170:00:25

on in children and young People's

mental health services. After that

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Andrea Leadsom will announce what is

coming up in the chamber next week

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and take questions from

backbenchers. Then Amber Rudd will

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come to the dispatch box to update

MPs on the attempted murder of

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ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and

his daughter Yulia Skripal in

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Salisbury on Sunday. That will be

followed by a debate marking

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International Women's Day. Do join

me for a round-up at 11 o'clock

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tonight. First, questions for

Michael Gove and his team of

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ministers.

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Questions to the Secretary of State

for the environment, food, and rural

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affairs. Minister George Eustace.

My

right honourable friend, the

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Secretary of State, was in the US on

departmental business representing

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UK interest. I know he has already

written to you regarding this. He

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sent his apologies to the house. Mr

Speaker, last week the Government

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launched a consultation setting out

the quality framework for

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agriculture after the UK leads the

European Union. This command paper

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outlined a series of proposals to

help farmers invest in their farms

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and become more profitable to

support new ventures coming into the

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industry and support collaborative

working in places such as research

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and develop them.

It was merely a state crisis this

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morning, the pedal came off my

bicycle at Vauxhall Bridge and I

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managed to get here just in time.

LAUGHTER

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Just showing off! I very much

welcome the command paper. It talks

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about having a greener environment

and a better environment for the

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future. Will he also agree with me

that apart from that paper, it must

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have the means of production and

good quality production and being

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able to increase our food that we

can grow in this country rather than

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decrease it as we go forward with

the new British agricultural policy.

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I agree with the Points my

honourable friend raises. He and I

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have a background in the farming

industry and recognising the

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importance of this for my country.

We need to grow our agriculture

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business and produce more food. All

consultation outlines a number of

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proposals including improving

productivity and improving research

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and of element. -- and development.

When will a decision be made on the

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reintroduction of a seasonal workers

scheme so that crops don't rot in

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the ground this summer?

The honourable gentleman will be

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aware this is an issue on which the

Home Office leads. We have regular

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discussions with Home Office

colleagues on these matters. We are

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getting feedback from industry on

this matter. As was made clear in a

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speech to the NFU, we are looking

closely at the idea of a seasonal

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agricultural workers scheme so we

can have the labour we need after we

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leave the European Union.

Most of the food produced and

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processed in my Cleethorpes

constituency is reliant on good

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supplies of fish. Can the Minister

given absolute assurance that the

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fishing industry will not be sold

out in these negotiations as they

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were in the 1970s?

We've consistently been clear that

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when we leave the European Union we

leave the common fisheries policy.

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That means under international law

the UN Convention on the law of the

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sea will become an independent

coastal state and we will manage the

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fisheries resources in our exclusive

zone and manage access to our own

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waters.

How will he ensure that farming

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subsidies after Brexit will remain

targeted at food production?

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We have been clear that we will

maintain the total spend that we

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have on agriculture and the farming

environment until 2022. We have also

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been clear, and our paper set this

out, there will be a transitional

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period as we move from an incoherent

system of area payments that we have

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now to one that is focused on the

delivery of public goods. We

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recognise there will need to be a

gradual transition from the old

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system to the new.

The agricultural policy has been a

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disaster for the British dairy

industry because it has been

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designed with the interest of French

farmers, not British farmers. How

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can we put this right after Brexit?

My honourable friend makes an

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important point. The common

agricultural policy has all sorts of

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inconsistencies. Having a one size

fits all agriculture for the whole

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of the EU makes no sense at all. As

we leave the European Union and take

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back control of these matters we

will have the freedom to design and

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agriculture policy that works for

our own farmers.

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Can I say first how relieved I am

but the member the Tiverton Hamilton

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made it this important question. --

made it today to make this important

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question. He should be aware that

deaf's figures show that 64% of

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farmers earn less than £10,000 per

year and that eight supermarkets

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control almost 95% of the food

retail market. -- DEFRA's figures.

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Farmers get 10% less than the value

of their product which are sold in

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supermarkets. What is the minister

going to do to tackle this clearly

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inequitable and unsustainable

situation?

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She makes an important point. If we

want to move to position where

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farmers are no longer dependent on

subsidies it is important we support

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them to come together

collaboratively to strengthen the

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supply chain so they get a fairer

price for the food they produce. We

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recently outlined a series of

proposals to have a statutory code

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on dairy and to have a statutory

approach to other livestock with a

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range of other options. I've had

regular dialogue with ministers

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regarding the role of the grocery

code adjudicator. We recently had a

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call the evidence on this matter. It

was published in February. We set

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out a range of measures to that

fairness in the supply chain and

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strengthen the position of farmers

and small producers.

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I am the paid chair of the trustees

of the fair trade organisation

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tradecraft. There were high hopes

across the chamber for a stronger

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groceries code adjudicator to

protect supplies from unfair

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practices like last-minute

cancellation of orders, unexplained

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deductions from invoices. Ministers

started consulting 18 months ago on

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possible changes. The farming

command paper last month promised

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fairness in the supply chain but

hopes were dashed with the

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announcement last month of no change

that the remit of the adjudicator.

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Why are ministers failing to take

action?

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I don't accept there was no change,

as I said earlier, we have announced

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the package of measures which

includes a £10 million collaboration

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fund to help farmers and small

producers come together. A

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compulsory milk contracts

legislation so that dairy farmers

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are protected. Compulsory sheep

carcass classification. Ministers

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are making supply chain data easier

to access to improve transparency

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and market integrity. And a review

as to whether more grocery retailers

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should come under the remit of the

GCA.

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I hear what the minister says, but

given that the vast majority of

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producers and consumers are very

keen to strengthen the grocery code

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adjudicator, why won't he do it? We

are happy to help on this site if

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you just makes the move to say he is

prepared to strengthen the code.

--

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this side is he just makes the move.

These were in very vulnerable

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sectors like dairy livestock who

often end up becoming price takers

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because they don't have sufficient

strength to deal with large

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processors. It was an issue of the

supermarkets, more initially those

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processes, and a better way to take

this forward is to introduce other

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statutory code that target the

problem rather than change the remit

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of the GCA.

With your permission I wish to group

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the following questions four, six,

13. Last autumn and independent

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working group was set up as part of

the strategy for England to hold a

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corporate evidence of measures to

reduce littering of drinks

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containers and promote recycling.

This included deposit return

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schemes. I've recently received the

report and considering their

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recommendations.

15 million plastic bottles a day are

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not recycled in this country. We

know that a deposit return scheme

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can increase recycling rates. I hope

they will introduce a scheme after

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this report. Can I urge the

Government introduce a scheme that

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applies to all drinks containers,

all sizes, from all sale locations,

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not just the on the go from and

vending machines?

Part of the

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evidence that was submitted reflects

the role of the fact that councils

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offer a competitive recycling

service at the kerb-side. I am

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delighted to save that rather have

finally agreed to start collecting

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plastic bottles, as well. I would

say we need to consider this

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approach carefully. I think there is

an appetite to have such DRS but the

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schemes we have seen in other parts

of Europe are very different and we

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would have to make sure we had one

that worked for this country and

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achieve the outcomes we all seek.

Like many colleagues I have pledged

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to pass on plastics. For too many of

my constituent it's impossible

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because their Street and lives are

inundated with a flood of plastic

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bottles, bags, packets, turning

their environment into a dumping

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ground. Will the Minister take

action urgently and stop denying

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local authorities like Newcastle

City Council the powers and the

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resources to tackle the problem

because frankly right now on the

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environment this Government is

rubbish.

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I think that question was a complete

waste of space. The honourable lady

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refers about powers. This Government

has given councils powers to tackle

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littering and waste crime. She is

being rather ungenerous in what

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progress is being made. In terms of

plastic I would say that plastic has

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a role in quite a lot of making sure

we have safe packaging but it has

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become endemic. That is why we are

considering that carefully in the

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resources and waste strategy which

we intend to publish later this

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year.

Across my constituency of later we

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have litter picking grapes and we

see loads of areas where plastic

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bottles and glass bottles are

dumped. Will she commit to

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introducing a deposit return scheme

for plastic and other containers so

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we can avoid this plague of plastic?

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The people who drop litter are

litter louts and I repeat my phrase,

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don't be a tosser! Let's get real

about how we need to tackle that. I

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want to commend the work of Keep

Britain Tidy. But we need to sort

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this out. That is why DRS is being

considered as part of our waste

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strategy.

Thank you, an

international women's day I would be

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like to be more consensual and ask

the minister to applaud the campaign

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by our female colleagues to give up

plastics for lent and the Church of

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England for practical suggestions

for something we can do on every one

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of 40 days. Has the minister given

up something in plastic for lent and

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will he join us in writing to

manufacturers to find a sustainable

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solution?

THE SPEAKER:

Spare the

details.

The church commissioner

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would call upon God to inspire us

and the Church of England. I'm one

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of those people who has also taken

the pledge to give up single use

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plastic for lent. I have had to

sacrifice my Marmite in the tea

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room, because they're in plastic

sachets. One of the things that this

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campaign about passing on plastic is

about behaviour and consumer change.

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I believe companies are responding

and we are start together see

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changes, the more -- starting to see

changes. But I'm assuring the House

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this Government will take action.

The scheme isn't just about

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recycling, it is about educating of

the need to be responsible. Would

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the minister praise the towns in

Cornwall who have declared that

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their aim is so become single-use

plastic free and does she agree when

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it comes to raising awareness on

this, Cornwall is leading the way?

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My honourable friend is passionate

about this cause and I applaud the

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towns and communities in Cornwall

for wanting to do the right thing.

?

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Ash borne tens and thousands of

plastic bottles have been handed out

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because of the interruption in the

water supply. Will my honourable

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friend look at this specific case?

As I announced the other day, I have

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undertaken a review and I would

encourage water companies to improve

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compensation and I expect Severn

Trent is responding to that.

The

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plastic we see on our beaches that

brings it to people's attention A

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BBC report found that in one litre

of melted Arctic sea ice there were

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234 plastic particles, that should

be why we take this urgently and if

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she is consulting it should be about

how we do it, not if.

This

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government has taken strong action

on banning microplastics from

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certain products. We are still

waiting for the other nations, but

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they have committed to make sure

that happens. One of the points he

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refers to is this is a global matter

and we work hard with other nations

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through different forums whether it

is the G7 or other agencies and the

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UN and common wealth countries who

will be visiting the the UK for the

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summit.

Our approach to environment

policy was set out in our 25-year

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environment plan. Our approach to

agriculture was published last week.

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Thank you for that answer. Can I ask

the minister does he agree there

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should be a common framework for

environmental standards across the

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whole of the United Kingdom after

Brexit?

Well as the honourable lady

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will be aware, through the EU

withdrawal Bill, we are bringing

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across all of the existing EU

legislation as it pertains to the

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environment. The Secretary of State

outlined plans for a new

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environmental body and we are in

discussion with the devolved

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administrations about their

involvement and the UK framework in

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these matters.

Park keeper or food

producer, whatever the future for

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farming, does my honourable friend

agree that there must be, it must be

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possible to earn a living out of

farm something

-- out of farming. I

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agree with my honourable friend, who

I know has a lot of experience in

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these matters. He is right, there

will be parts of the country where

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some farmers may choose to do more

by way of delivering environmental

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outcomes and environmental delivery,

parts of country where they may

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focus on food production. Be we want

a vibrant farming industry.

The

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Prime Minister in a speech last

Friday welcomely said there would be

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no compromise on animal welfare

standards. What guarantee can he

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give that farmers won't be damaged

after post Brexit trade deals.

We

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have been clear that we will not

lower our high animal welfare

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standard and food standards in

pursuit of a trade deal.

Thank you,

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again with permission, I wish to

group the following questions. Our

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oceans are part of our way of life

and the blue planet series drew

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attention to how they're under

threat. The scheme shows what we are

0:18:450:18:50

doing to manage harmful pressures.

Our fishermen are strong custodians

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of fishing environment and fishermen

in Scotland are looking forward to

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this Government taking us out of

disastrous common fisheries policy.

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Does she agree leaving the EU

provides fishermen with a sea of

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opportunity and part of that will

involve protecting the marine

0:19:160:19:20

environment?

Thank you, as my

honourable friend the Prime Minister

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reinforced in the Mansion House

speech, we will be leaving the

0:19:250:19:30

common fisheries policy and this

gives an independent to manage the

0:19:300:19:35

fisheries that we have.

The final

straw is a new community group whose

0:19:350:19:43

objective is to reduce plastic use

and clean up our coastlines,

0:19:430:19:48

will-join me in congratulating their

work and encourage more groups to

0:19:480:19:54

continue protecting our marine

environment.

I commend the organiser

0:19:540:20:00

of final straw Solent. It matters

that we have local action. We want

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to have wider action to stop people

dropping litter. But on

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international women's day we should

look to Dame Ellen McArthur, who is

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known for her sailing record, but

she is known as a true champion of

0:20:150:20:19

the environment and she is doing a

lot of work to make sure we have a

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reduction of plastics.

What about

coral?

Mr Speaker, not a lot of

0:20:230:20:34

people know this, but we have some

of the most spectacular coral reefs

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in this, in the world in these fire

islands. They're -- fair islands.

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The Scottish is protecting coral in

their marine protected areas. We

0:20:470:20:54

have reengaged with international

coral reef protection.

This is a

0:20:540:21:02

global challenge. For all our lives

and we have got a CPA, common

0:21:020:21:09

Parliamentary meeting coming up in

London, isn't it time she and her

0:21:090:21:14

boss got got there and made common

cause to do something on a global

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scale that is meaningful?

There are

now 53 common wealth nations and

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that is... We are working together

with our common wealth nations to

0:21:260:21:33

have an ambitious blue charter to

focus on the challenges he sets out.

0:21:330:21:39

My honourable friend for

Huddersfield is right that the

0:21:390:21:42

threats to our oceans are

international and not national. It

0:21:420:21:46

is good to take action on plastics

locally, but coral reefs, plastics

0:21:460:21:54

in the sea call for international

action. What leadership will this

0:21:540:21:57

government give at that level.

I

think the United Kingdom is the

0:21:570:22:01

international leader on these

issues. As I said to the honourable

0:22:010:22:06

gentleman this is an international

matter, all this moves around the

0:22:060:22:09

world and recently I have been to

the United States and Canada,

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working with the Canada G7

presidency and this is very much at

0:22:160:22:20

the top of the agenda for the

Government.

At the last DEFRA

0:22:200:22:26

questions on 25th January I asked

the question for fishing given the

0:22:260:22:32

turns in the EU and where it is

going, the Secretary state said the

0:22:320:22:40

people in the swus can enjoy the

produce of our fisherman. Said good

0:22:400:22:46

dodge. He said thank you. I wonder

if we can get an answer. Given all

0:22:460:22:53

the turns the Government tell

fishermen they will get from leaving

0:22:530:23:00

the EU what and when.

The Government

is seeking a trade deal, but he

0:23:000:23:04

should be aware other countries like

Iceland have control of their

0:23:040:23:09

waters, grant access and there are

annual negotiations for shared

0:23:090:23:12

shocks. We will continue to be part

part of negotiation.

Leaving the I

0:23:120:23:22

you gives the UK an opportunity to

improve the profitability of

0:23:220:23:27

agriculture sector. We out an

approach that and improve the

0:23:270:23:35

competitiveness of the farming

sector. Can I congratulate the first

0:23:350:23:42

ever woman president of the National

Farmers Union.

May I join him in

0:23:420:23:48

that sentiment. Brexit is the

greatest threat to Scottish farming

0:23:480:23:55

and Scotland has higher rates of

funding and the types of farming

0:23:550:23:58

that can take place are specific,

will he commit to make sure no

0:23:580:24:02

subsidies are cut to Scotland after

Brexit?

The honourable lady will be

0:24:020:24:08

aware that it is our intention that

agriculture policy and the design of

0:24:080:24:13

individual schemes will very much be

a matter for the devolved

0:24:130:24:17

administrations and so I very much

look forward to some of the

0:24:170:24:20

proposals that may come from the

Scottish Government. We have offered

0:24:200:24:22

to share our own propose ls with

them so they can learn from the

0:24:220:24:26

analysis we are doing.

I'm proud

that veil of've sham asparagus has

0:24:260:24:35

been granted international status by

the EU. It helps boost the brand.

0:24:350:24:41

Will PGI status still be recognised

post Brexit?

That is an important

0:24:410:24:51

point and Evesham asparagus has a

great reputation around the world.

0:24:510:24:55

The point I would make about the

protected food names, the intention

0:24:550:24:58

we have is the existing legislation

will come across through the

0:24:580:25:07

withdrawal bill. Those will be

protected through our domestic

0:25:070:25:12

legislation.

My honourable friend is

surprisingly shy and self efacing,

0:25:120:25:18

we are unlikely to reach question

12, if the honourable gentleman

0:25:180:25:21

wants to favour the House with his

thoughts now on this question, he is

0:25:210:25:26

welcome to do so.

Thank you very

much Mr Speaker. One way to make

0:25:260:25:33

small farms viable is to value add

to the product and I I was brought

0:25:330:25:38

up on a dairy farm and today my

brother is a successful cheese

0:25:380:25:43

maker. Would the minister...

Undertake to instruct his officials

0:25:430:25:49

to encourage small farms to go down

this route and could it be shared

0:25:490:25:54

with the Scottish Government,

because it is devolved in my case.

0:25:540:25:59

I'm grateful to the honourable

gentleman as will be the honourable

0:25:590:26:02

gentleman's brother.

We recognise

the importance of our small family

0:26:020:26:06

farms and we also recognise some may

face for challenges in the

0:26:060:26:10

transition from the old system to

the future. So we set out details

0:26:100:26:17

proposals on a gradual transition

and set out measures to help support

0:26:170:26:22

productivity and help them add value

and get a fairer price for their

0:26:220:26:27

products and we would be happy to

share our proposals with the

0:26:270:26:30

Scottish Government.

Shropshire

formers have pleased with some of

0:26:300:26:35

the mood music coming from the

Government about financial support

0:26:350:26:39

that they will get in the post

Brexit world. Will the minister

0:26:390:26:44

commit to me to come to the

Shropshire Show this year or one of

0:26:440:26:50

his officials to continue that

dialogue with farmers?

I thank my

0:26:500:26:55

honourable friend for that

invitation and I or another minister

0:26:550:26:59

would be delighted to attend th

Shropshire show.

0:26:590:27:09

We are committed to maintaining and

improving our world leading animal

0:27:120:27:17

welfare standards. Our consultation

paper sets out options we are

0:27:170:27:22

considering, such as pilot schemes

offering payments to farmers

0:27:220:27:28

offering higher welfare outcomes and

proposals for chicken and pigs.

0:27:280:27:45

Does the Minister agree that anybody

charged with the most serious type

0:27:510:27:54

of animal welfare offences should

not be able to acquire new livestock

0:27:540:28:00

in the run-up to their trial? And

will he meet with me to discuss this

0:28:000:28:04

matter?

The animal welfare act 2006

gives the courts power to dispose a

0:28:040:28:11

disqualification order on anyone

found guilty of causing unnecessary

0:28:110:28:14

suffering to animals. This can

disqualify someone not only from

0:28:140:28:18

owning or keeping animals but

crucially from having any influence

0:28:180:28:21

over the way an animal is kept. If

somebody is suspected of breaching

0:28:210:28:29

this they should report to the

authorities. He will understand that

0:28:290:28:32

there is a difference where somebody

has been charged but not yet

0:28:320:28:35

prosecuted. I would be happy to meet

my honourable friend to discuss this

0:28:350:28:39

matter further.

The Minister will be

aware of long-standing public health

0:28:390:28:44

concerns about the routine overuse

of antibiotics on UK farms. We hear

0:28:440:28:49

that on American farms they are five

times higher, particularly in US

0:28:490:28:53

beef production. What conversations

is he having with his colleagues in

0:28:530:28:56

the health department to make sure

that opening the markets to US beef

0:28:560:28:59

doesn't happen so we don't have a

public health crisis in this

0:28:590:29:04

country.

She makes an important

point. We've made good progress in

0:29:040:29:08

the UK to reduce our antibiotic use

in agriculture. Notable successes in

0:29:080:29:12

the poultry industry and the pig

sector also making improvements in

0:29:120:29:16

this area. We have been clear that

we want to support approaches to

0:29:160:29:21

livestock. It will enable us to

reduce the use of antibiotics

0:29:210:29:25

further. As I said earlier we will

not compromise our food standards

0:29:250:29:29

and animal welfare standards in

pursuit of any trade.

Question

0:29:290:29:33

number 11.

0:29:330:29:37

Game is an important part of our

food heritage. It is a draw on many

0:29:390:29:44

users across the UK and asserted in

many establishments. Exports are

0:29:440:29:48

believed to be worth £9 billion in

2016 and £7 billion in 2017. We

0:29:480:29:55

continue to raise the profile and

reputation of UK food and drink

0:29:550:29:59

overseas through the food is great

campaign.

You will be well aware

0:29:590:30:04

that the game factors... Some 14

million... You'll also be aware that

0:30:040:30:14

the European market and France in

particular, their market has fallen.

0:30:140:30:19

As such could ask the minister if he

would be prepared to introduce game

0:30:190:30:25

into the far east, particularly

China, which is a market crying out

0:30:250:30:28

for game for their plates.

I

regularly take part in trade

0:30:280:30:36

delegations with the UK Government.

And a couple of years ago I attended

0:30:360:30:44

the food conference in Cologne,

Germany. There was a producer there,

0:30:440:30:48

and export to come of UK game. I'm

happy to meet him and look at what

0:30:480:30:53

proposals he might have in this

area. -- and export,

0:30:530:31:00

since our last DEFRA questions the

department has continued to work on

0:31:020:31:09

our departure from the EU with the

publication of our command paper on

0:31:090:31:13

huge agricultural policy.

In

addition we've laid legislation in

0:31:130:31:19

slaughterhouses, taking forward our

agenda to enhance animal welfare.

0:31:190:31:24

Parliament has also debated and

passed legislation to strengthen the

0:31:240:31:27

laws in terms of combating letter.

0:31:270:31:29

Remainers only disagree that one of

the very worst aspects of our EU

0:31:310:31:35

membership is the common fisheries

policy. Can the Minister confirm we

0:31:350:31:38

are leaving it on the 29th of March

next year, that the British fishing

0:31:380:31:42

industry can be relaunched as a

result, and that he won't trade our

0:31:420:31:48

newly won sovereignty over fishing

in the interest of a wider trade

0:31:480:31:51

deal.

We've also been -- always been clear

0:31:510:31:57

that we will leave the common

fisheries policy when we leave and

0:31:570:32:01

become an independent coastal state

under international law. There are

0:32:010:32:05

always annual negotiations. Even for

those countries outside the EU. To

0:32:050:32:09

agree an approach on the management

of shared stocks. We envisage such

0:32:090:32:13

meetings will continue. I can

confirm the UK Government's view is

0:32:130:32:18

that there is a trade discussion to

take place. We want a free trade

0:32:180:32:23

agreement. We want to take back

control of our waters.

Last week's

0:32:230:32:30

freezing temperatures have caused

chaos to water supplies this week.

0:32:300:32:33

Households in London are those

hardest hit. There is a systemic

0:32:330:32:38

failure by Thames Water to comply

with their legal obligations to

0:32:380:32:42

provide ten litres of water per

person everyday customer is

0:32:420:32:45

disconnected. Can the Minister

confirm that was the case. If so,

0:32:450:32:48

when the department was notified as

requirement. And what actions will

0:32:480:32:53

be taken against the companies who

failed in this.

0:32:530:32:57

I have ordered a review of what has

been happening. I have asked for the

0:32:570:33:02

review to be available. I will

update her after that.

0:33:020:33:10

I hope we can ensure that water is

still getting to those customers who

0:33:100:33:14

was still going without connected

water supply this week. Given that

0:33:140:33:18

executives at the top nine sewage

companies in the UK got -- paid out

0:33:180:33:31

dividends. What is this Government's

plan to rebalance executive pay and

0:33:310:33:38

get a grip on our water companies if

the department responsible has said

0:33:380:33:46

they will not do that.

There is an

expectation of increased investment

0:33:460:33:50

which needs to be made by the

industry. The price review is

0:33:500:33:53

underway. Water companies will be

coming out with the consultation. My

0:33:530:33:58

right honourable friend spoke to

water UK a few weeks ago. He has

0:33:580:34:01

read them the riot act. I will

repeat he has said he will use

0:34:010:34:06

whatever powers needed for the water

companies to up their game.

0:34:060:34:12

In my constituency plastic debris is

often washed up on the town speech,

0:34:120:34:15

harming the local ecosystem and

damaging tourism. Does my right

0:34:150:34:19

honourable friend agree with me that

reducing plastic waste will be

0:34:190:34:22

essential for the regeneration of

Britain's seaside towns?

Absolutely.

0:34:220:34:26

I lived in Sowerby as a child. I

visited your constituency many

0:34:260:34:29

times. -- Formby as a child. I

commend the work being done. He will

0:34:290:34:36

be aware of the ongoing since we are

trying to do to reduce the amount of

0:34:360:34:40

plastic entering the oceans and

therefore our beaches.

0:34:400:34:43

The committee on toxicity is

currently reviewing the most recent

0:34:430:34:48

research on folic acid. If they

advised the Government that the

0:34:480:34:50

maximum recommendation intake should

be increased or abolished, will the

0:34:500:34:55

Minister commit to following the

scientific evidence and the success

0:34:550:34:58

of other countries to require

fortification of flour with folic

0:34:580:35:04

acid to reduce defects.

This is an issue which is shared

0:35:040:35:10

between the Department for health

and DEFRA. They lead on the issue

0:35:100:35:16

with very little acid, we lead on

the issue of labelling issues. There

0:35:160:35:19

was a complexity in EU law. EU

regulations require that all

0:35:190:35:23

products that have flour must

include the labelling. That creates

0:35:230:35:28

problems for industry. If there is a

recommendation we will look sensibly

0:35:280:35:31

at this. Once we leave the European

Union we have an opportunity to

0:35:310:35:36

adopt a slightly different approach.

What has she done to stop our

0:35:360:35:43

songbirds from being trapped and

eaten in Cyprus?

My honourable

0:35:430:35:50

friend has brought up an important

issue. As part of an international

0:35:500:35:54

convention on migratory species the

issue of the illegal trapping in

0:35:540:35:59

Cyprus has been a long-running

theme. That is why I would like to

0:35:590:36:02

commend the Ministry of Defence, the

police, and Armed Forces at the

0:36:020:36:06

sovereign base in Cyprus who are

working hard to tackle this issue

0:36:060:36:09

which means the RSPB has shown there

has been a 70% fall in the amount of

0:36:090:36:13

illegal poaching going on.

So glad he does not represent a

0:36:130:36:19

migratory species. I doubt that

proposition would be the subject of

0:36:190:36:23

a division in the house.

In the light of the Secretary of

0:36:230:36:29

State warning to water companies to

address public concerns of prices,

0:36:290:36:33

is the Minister aware of the nine

water companies committed to the

0:36:330:36:38

keep me posted campaign to ensure

consumers have the right to choose

0:36:380:36:41

paper bills and statements?

I believe customers can choose to

0:36:410:36:50

keep paper bills. I think water

companies like many other companies

0:36:500:36:54

offer a discount if people choose to

switch to electronic communication.

0:36:540:36:57

But I am sure this is an issue

customers can take up if this is

0:36:570:37:04

proving a problem.

Thousands of my constituents have

0:37:040:37:11

their water shot off by Southern due

to poor winter preparedness. What

0:37:110:37:16

discussions has the department had

with the water industry, and the

0:37:160:37:22

regulator to ensure that this

doesn't happen in future winters?

0:37:220:37:28

Officials have been in regular touch

with the water companies. On Tuesday

0:37:280:37:31

I convened a meeting of the chief

executives of the water companies,

0:37:310:37:35

and the regulator, and water UK. As

announced, I've asked them to

0:37:350:37:40

undertake a review to look into the

practices that happened.

0:37:400:37:45

The command paper includes the line

we will adopt a trade approach which

0:37:450:37:49

promotes lower prices for consumers,

which I find worrying. Isn't it the

0:37:490:37:54

case that food prices are

historically low already, lower

0:37:540:37:57

prices will not do anything for

British farmers. We need good

0:37:570:38:01

quality, affordable food, which is

healthy for people, not a race to

0:38:010:38:04

the bottom in terms of getting ever

cheaper food.

0:38:040:38:09

The point were making in the paper,

it isn't the long-term. There may be

0:38:090:38:14

opportunities in certain sectors,

particularly for food, that we are

0:38:140:38:17

unable to produce ourselves in this

country to have lower prices in

0:38:170:38:21

certain products. This is an

important point. Generally we have

0:38:210:38:24

low food prices and stable food

prices in this country.

0:38:240:38:34

Given the intention to use public

money to promote public good does my

0:38:340:38:38

honourable friend agree that as well

as rewarding farmers for looking

0:38:380:38:42

after the environment we should

support growers who contribute to

0:38:420:38:47

public health by growing healthy

fruit and vegetables.

0:38:470:38:51

That's a very important point. As a

former fruit and vegetable grower I

0:38:510:38:55

should perhaps declare an interest

in this. She is right. We believe

0:38:550:39:00

our future policy insofar as its

support and innovation will be open

0:39:000:39:04

to the horticultural sector so they

can invest in their future. We also

0:39:040:39:08

talk about the importance of

promoting nutritious food.

0:39:080:39:13

The Government said in court they

considered it sufficient to take a

0:39:130:39:17

pragmatic, less formal approach to

areas of poor air quality.

0:39:170:39:22

Portsmouth has consistently breached

World Health Organisation guidelines

0:39:220:39:25

with 95 premature deaths each year

attributed to air pollution. Does

0:39:250:39:31

the minister consider it appropriate

to take an informed approach to

0:39:310:39:34

preventing deaths and protecting the

health of my constituents?

Thank

0:39:340:39:38

you. The honourable gentleman is

selectively quoting from the

0:39:380:39:42

judgment. However, this Government

takes air quality very seriously.

0:39:420:39:47

The issue regarding Portsmouth is

that they are expected to come into

0:39:470:39:50

compliance within the next two,

three years. The Government has been

0:39:500:39:54

using the benchmark. That would take

four years to come into place. He

0:39:540:39:58

may well shake his head but he needs

to be working with his counsel about

0:39:580:40:01

what they are doing to improve local

roads, with public health, and what

0:40:010:40:06

they are working on. I'm sure he

will be working alongside counts

0:40:060:40:09

Madonna Jones who is making great

efforts to improve air quality. --

0:40:090:40:14

councillor Donna Jones.

Existing

reciprocal access to fishing waters

0:40:140:40:23

and resources should be maintained.

All this seemed to suggest that any

0:40:230:40:26

future trade deal will be heavily

dependent on EU fishermen

0:40:260:40:30

maintaining their on the access to

British waters. This position is

0:40:300:40:35

acceptable to fishing communities

around the UK. Can my honourable

0:40:350:40:38

friend confirm that this Government

considers the EU's position on this

0:40:380:40:43

as just an acceptable?

Yes. I simply

say to my honourable friend that

0:40:430:40:48

this is the EU position. They

currently benefit considerably from

0:40:480:40:52

access to UK waters. At the moment

the UK fleets' access to European

0:40:520:41:03

waters is far lower than they have

access to UK waters.

Can I draw your

0:41:030:41:11

attention to the serious oil spill

stretching from my constituency

0:41:110:41:15

right down the River lead to the

Olympic Park. It is the second time

0:41:150:41:18

it has happened in two years. Is it

not now time for the Environment

0:41:180:41:23

Agency, river to canals trust, and

the local authorities in Thames

0:41:230:41:26

water to get together, once they

have cleaned up the spill, to see

0:41:260:41:29

what they can do to prevent this?

I

have already replied to the

0:41:290:41:34

honourable gentleman through written

questions. In particular the

0:41:340:41:37

Environment Agency has traced the

potential polluter but I cannot give

0:41:370:41:42

further details due to the ongoing

investigation. The Environment

0:41:420:41:45

Agency carries out prevention

reviews and we are still working to

0:41:450:41:52

clear it up.

Last week the

Department's Brexit paper was also

0:41:520:41:57

about the availability of food yet

made zero reference to the scandal

0:41:570:42:01

that one in 12 British adults have

gone a whole day without food. Why

0:42:010:42:05

doesn't this Government care about

people going hungry?

0:42:050:42:10

We do care and we have a number of

initiatives to support some of

0:42:100:42:16

the... Approaches to supporting food

banks and make sure food goes into

0:42:160:42:22

redistribution and we are also

reforming and improving the benefits

0:42:220:42:25

system to help people back into

work, which is the best alternative.

0:42:250:42:30

The minister will be aware of the

concerns raised by the food

0:42:300:42:34

producers and farmers in Northern

Ireland when it cops to cross-border

0:42:340:42:38

trade. Would the minister agree we

need to find an arrangement that

0:42:380:42:44

will accommodate even?

--

accommodate everyone. Yes, I met him

0:42:440:42:51

and others to discuss the challenges

of Northern

0:42:510:42:53