The UK's future agricultural policy is an important issue to me as agricultural business are one of the largest employers in the Chichester constituency. I regularly meet with West Sussex Growers Association to ensure that their concerns are heard and I can represent their views in Parliament.
Many amendments to the Agriculture Bill have been tabled. The Government are currently reflecting on these amendments, as well as concerns raised by colleagues and interested parties. I look forward to the Bill coming back to the House, at which point I will have the opportunity to vote on any amendments brought forward there.
I have written to Michael Gove to specify how important this policy is to the people of Chichester when we have such a large market for agriculture. I have urged him to consider the points I have raised and take them into account with his consultation. Emphasis has been placed on ensuring efficient and bountiful food production, ensuring labour is fair and obtainable.
Food and farming is a bedrock of the UK economy and environment, generating £112 billion a year and helping shape some of our finest habitats and landscapes. I am pleased that the Government will continue to commit the same funds for farm support 2022. Once we have the freedom to move away from the Common Agricultural Policy, the proposal is for an 'agricultural transition' period in England, allowing farmers to prepare for a new system.
Leaving the EU creates a once in a generation opportunity to design a domestic agricultural policy that will stand the test of time. It gives up the opportunity for the first time in half a century to control our own agricultural and fishing markets. It will allow us to legislate on behalf of our farmers and growers, meaning we can relax regulations to support them such as the 3 crop rule and the timings of hedge cuttings. We can bring in innovative new ideas to support investment in healthy, sustainable British food production and do much better for farming, the environment and animal welfare. The Government proposes to move to a system of paying farmers public money for public goods: principally environmental enhancement.
We must take this opportunity to use public money to reward environmentally-responsible land use, as well as maintaining and enhancing high standards of animal welfare. I am convinced that we will harness this opportunity and ensure that our best days as a food and farming nation lie ahead of us.