George Eustice, the Camborne & Redruth MP, also Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food has admitted that his department has done nothing since the referendum to prepare his industry for Brexit.
The Green Party MP Caroline Lucas tabled a written question to DEFRA and got a response from George Eustice yesterday that admits there has been no “research specifically to inform agricultural and environmental policy once the UK leaves the EU” since the UK voted out.
The answer will only confirm the worst fears of the farming and fishing communities that their livelihoods are not being considered and will be used as a makeweight in the UK’s Brexit negotiations.
At yesterday’s Brexit Committee hearings in Truro, the NFU spokesman for Cornwall, Patrick Aubrey-Fletcher called for as much stability for the industries as possible – this is probably the last thing he wanted to hear.
Mr Aubrey-Fletcher reminded the panel of just how much on the frontline of Brexit Cornwall’s farming and fishing are. The figures speak for themselves:
80% of land in Cornwall is farmed
92% of fish landed in Cornwall are exported to Europe
Out of the £300m Sheep export trade from Cornwall, £280m goes to Europe
How many Farmers and Fishermen in his constituency again? Mr Eustice campaigned hard for Brexit, claiming that Brexit will provide a “good deal” for fishermen who will be able to catch “hundreds of thousands of tonnes more fish after Brexit”. He claimed farmers would be “free of spirit-crushing Green objectives” and claimed that “The UK government will continue to give farmers and the environment as much support – or perhaps even more – as they get now.”
Mr Eustice did plenty of talking in the lead up to the referendum but has gone quiet since, especially with any detail. He has now admitted his department has not done anything since the referendum either. He is the man in charge of defending UK farming and fishing at arguably their most critical points ever.
Back to wrecking, me ‘ansomes??!
Agriculture and Environment: Research:Written question – 63096
QAsked by Caroline Lucas(Brighton, Pavilion)Asked on: 06 February 2017Department for Environment, Food and Rural AffairsAgriculture and Environment: ResearchTo ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what research the Government has commissioned in the last six months to inform the development of agricultural and environmental policy once the UK leaves the EU.
AAnswered by: George EusticeAnswered on: 09 February 2017
Defra invests a significant amount in agricultural and environmental research to underpin policy development and implementation. Much of this is relevant to the development of future policy in the context of EU exit.
However, research specifically to inform agricultural and environmental policy once the UK leaves the EU, which is distinct from the department’s on-going research programmes, has not been commissioned in the last 6 months.