It has come to the Department’s attention that the letter that was sent from the Department to the Committee on 20 January 2020 regarding the introduction of the Agriculture Bill to Parliament contained a factual inaccuracy.
The letter contained the line “The Department wishes to notify the Committee that it has removed the ability to create offences in the Bill.” The Committee will be aware that provisions in the Agriculture Bill do contain such abilities.
The letter should have instead clarified that any new criminal offences created by powers in the Bill will only be punishable by a fine rather than imprisonment. The text should therefore read: The Department wishes to notify the Committee that it has removed the ability to create imprisonable offences in the Bill.
The Department did not spot this error before the letter was sent to the Committee, for which it apologises.
We again thank the Committee for their valuable scrutiny of the Agriculture Bill.
25 February 2020