Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Proceedings Report


Members present:

Mr David Curry, in the Chair

Mr David DrewMr Austin Mitchell
Mr Keith SimpsonMr Mark Todd
Mr Michael JackDiana Organ
Paddy Tipping

The Committee deliberated.

Draft Report [The Future of UK Agriculture in a changing world], proposed by the Chairman, brought up and read.

Ordered, That the draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.

Paragraphs 1 to 49 read and agreed to.

A paragraph—(Mr Austin Mitchell)—brought up and read as follows:

"When Britain entered what was then the Common Market in 1972 the problems of adjustment were substantial and in many respects the CAP proved less appropriate to British needs than to those of the six who had devised it to suit their own purposes. Agricultural protectionism is less appropriate to a net food importer, farming for subsidy has distorted production in directions less appropriate to British climate and conditions, food prices have been consistently higher than those available on world markets, and once the Common Agricultural Policy was no longer priced in a common currency, the emerging gap between the rising Pound and the falling Euro penalised British farmers. All British political parties have regularly committed themselves to fundamental reform but the only reforms achieved have been those acceptable to the interests of agricultural producer nations and particularly to France and Germany. The CAP does not fit as easily on Britain as it does on those who developed it."

Question put, That the paragraph be read a second time.

The Committee divided.

 Ayes, 2   Noes, 3

Mr David Drew  Mr Michael Jack

Mr Austin Mitchell  Diana Organ

Paddy Tipping

Paragraphs 50 to 280 read and agreed to.

A paragraph—(Mr David Drew)—brought up and read as follows:

"Given the past false dawns in terms of reform of the CAP it is important that the Government has an alternative approach which recognises that British agricultural policy could be re­nationalised. This would mean that the CAP should either be scrapped or downgraded to provide only a multinational framework leaving detailed consideration of policy formulation to the Governments of the nation­states. This would give back power in areas such as bringing greater equilibrium between supply and demand at national level, more opportunity for intervention to influence prices and more openings to enhance the rural economy. Earlier failings in pan­Europeanism could be overcome by developing national envelopes restoring the emphasis upon farming as a public good."

Question put, That the paragraph be read a second time.

The Committee divided.

 Ayes, 2   Noes, 4

Mr David Drew  Mr Michael Jack

Mr Austin Mitchell  Diana Organ

Paddy Tipping

Mr Mark Todd

Paragraph 281 read and agreed to.

Summary read and agreed to.

Ordered, That the Chairman do make the Report to the House.

Ordered, That the provisions of Standing Order No. 134 (Select committee (reports)) be applied to the Report.

Ordered, That the Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee be reported to the House.

The Committee further deliberated.

  [Adjourned till Wednesday 23 October at half-past Nine o'clock.

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