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General Election 2019: What are the political parties promising on food and farming?

With two weeks to go until polling day on December 12, all the political parties have now published their manifestos. But what are they promising on food and farming? Abi Kay finds out. 

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General Election 2019: What are the political parties promising on food and farming?

The parties are listed in alphabetical order. Click on the links below to find the relevant policies.

 

Brexit Party

Conservative Party

Green Party

Labour Party

Liberal Democrats

Plaid Cymru

Scottish National Party


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BREXIT PARTY

BREXIT PARTY

Infrastructure

  • Cancel HS2
  • Invest at least £50bn in local road and rail schemes
  • Work with internet service providers to offer free ‘base level’ domestic broadband in deprived regions and free WiFi on all public transport

Nature

  • Plant ‘millions’ of trees to capture CO2

Trade and standards

  • Cut import tariffs to zero on ‘certain foods’ to cut prices for consumers

Brexit

  • Leave the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement

Future farming policy

  • Maintain subsidies and grants paid to farmers

Access to labour

  • Promise to reduce annual immigration and introduce a points-based system

CONSERVATIVE PARTY

CONSERVATIVE PARTY

Funding

  • Guarantee current agriculture budget to 2024
  • 20,000 more police officers to help tackle rural crime
  • £640m Nature for Climate fund to reach net zero by 2050 target

Trade and standards

  • ‘Raise’ animal welfare, agriculture and environmental standards
  • Negotiate trade deals with USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan in next three years

Brexit

  • Keep UK out of single market and customs union
  • Negotiate a trade agreement with the EU next year

Animal welfare

  • End live exports and ‘excessively long’ journeys for slaughter and fattening

Rural crime

  • Tackle unauthorised traveller camps
  • Increase penalties for fly-tipping

Future farming policy

  • Move to public money for public goods farm support system
  • Encourage public sector to buy British food

Infrastructure

  • Ensure full-fibre and gigabit capable broadband reaches every home and business in the UK by 2025
  • Invest £100bn in railways and roads
  • Consider findings of Oakervee review into HS2
  • Protect rural bus routes

Flooding

  • Invest £4bn in flood defences

Access to labour

  • Introduce points-based immigration system
  • Reduce overall numbers of immigrants and ‘lower-skilled’ migrants
  • Increase annual quota for Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Scheme to 10,000

Nature

  • Protect the Green Belt
  • Set up Office for Environmental Protection
  • Plant an additional 75,000 acres of trees a year by the end of the next Parliament
  • Restore peatlands
  • Create new National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Beauty
  • Make green spaces more accessible to the public

Climate

  • Deliver on target to become net zero by 2050

GREEN PARTY

GREEN PARTY

Future farming policy

  • Refocus subsidies to transition to organic farming, agroforestry and mixed farming and away from ‘intensive’ livestock farming
  • Aim for 50 per cent of all farms to be engaged in agroforestry by 2030

 

  • Grants for farmers to replace high-emitting farm machinery and improve farm buildings and infrastructure
  • New subsidies to expand and replace hedgerows
  • Legislate to give farmers greater security of tenure
  • Introduce support for small-scale family farms and new entrants
  • Ban ‘most harmful’ pesticides, including glyphosate
  • Maintain moratorium on production and import of GM foods
  • Reduce amount of nitrogen fertiliser used on UK farms

Funding

  • Increase funding for the Environment Agency and Natural England

Food

  • Phase in a tax on meat and dairy products over the next ten years
  • Introduce clear labelling to indicate carbon emissions, high animal welfare and ‘intensive’ production methods
  • Promote initiatives to reduce food waste
  • Legislate for a ‘right to food’

Infrastructure

  • Connect rural communities through rural broadband and mobile internet
  • Scrap HS2

Business

  • Establish a Land Commission to ‘investigate the effects’ of concentrated land ownership on food and farming systems
  • Introduce a new Land Value Tax
  • Increase Living Wage to £12 and extend it to workers aged between 16 and 21

Nature

  • Plant 700 million new trees
  • Encourage rewilding
  • Create a new Nature GCSE
  • Extend Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest protections
  • Bring in targets for soil quality and biodiversity standards
  • Develop a soil health monitoring programme for England
  • Invest in peatland restoration and end burning of peatlands
  • Restore access to the countryside

Climate

  • Support research into reduction of methane emissions from livestock and conservation and development of high-quality soils
  • Support introduction of EU-wide carbon tariff

Flooding

  • Plant trees and restore soil in the uplands

Animal welfare

  • Advocate for EU legislation to end ‘factory farming’
  • Push for European rules to reduce transportation times for animals
  • Ban live exports
  • Stop the badger cull
  • Prohibit routine use of antibiotics for farm animals
  • Implement a complete ban on cages for farm animals

Trade and standards

  • Maintain and enhance environmental and food standards in all future trade deals

Brexit

  • Push for a second referendum with remain on the ballot paper

LABOUR PARTY

LABOUR PARTY

Funding

 

 

  • Maintain agricultural and rural structural funds
  • ‘Fully fund’ environmental agencies
  • Invest in county farms
  • Boost police resources to tackle rural crime

Food

  • Introduce a ‘Right to Food’
  • Establish a National Food Commission
  • Support local food networks

Access to farm land

  • ‘Expand access’ to farm holdings
  • Work with farming organisations to increase access for new entrants

Farm workers’ rights and pay

  • Re-establish the Agricultural Wages Board in England
  • Introduce a Real Living Wage of £10 per hour for all workers aged 16 or over
  • Ensure union representation for all agricultural workers

Trade and standards

  • ‘Maintain and improve’ existing EU standards in trade deals

Brexit

  • Replace Tory Withdrawal Agreement with one which ensures the UK remains in the customs union and aligned to the single market
  • Second referendum with remain on the ballot paper

Future farming policy

  • Repurpose agricultural and rural funds to support public goods and sustainable methods of food production

Flooding

  • £5.6bn to improve flood defences
  • Better upstream river management

Infrastructure

  • Nationalise railways and water companies
  • Free full-fibre broadband for all UK households by 2030

Nature

  • Review protected area designations
  • Introduce binding new standards for nature recovery, environmental quality and habitats and species protection
  • ‘Ambitious’ programme of tree planting

Climate

  • Aim to achieve net-zero carbon food production in Britain by 2040

Animal welfare

  • End the badger cull
  • Prohibit sales of snares and glue traps

Access to labour

  • Freedom of movement to continue if Labour’s second referendum means the UK remains in the EU, with new rules ‘subject to negotiation’ if the result is to leave

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

Food

  • Introduce a National Food Strategy

Funding

  • Increase Defra’s budget, ensuring Natural England and the Environment Agency are ‘properly funded’

Animal welfare

  • Improve standards of animal welfare in agriculture, including a ban on caged hens
  • Develop ‘safe, effective, humane and evidence-based’ ways of controlling bovine TB, including investing in workable vaccines

Future farming policy

  • Reduce agricultural support payments to larger recipients and redeploy the savings to support public goods
  • Support producers by broadening the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator and helping them with access to markets

Trade and standards

  • Ensure future trade agreements require high environmental and animal welfare standards

Brexit

  • Revoke Article 50 with a majority Government, but in all other circumstances fight for a second referendum with remain on the ballot paper

Flooding

  • £5n for flood prevention and climate adaptation

Infrastructure

  • £2bn to install hyper-fast, fibre-optic broadband across the UK, with particular focus on connecting rural areas and small and medium-sized businesses
  • Invest in mobile data infrastructure and expand it to cover all homes
  • Set up a £2bn Rural Services Fund to enable the co-location of services in local hub
  • Increase funding for buses

Climate

  • Set legally binding target to become net zero by 2045
  • Create a statutory duty on all local authorities to produce a Zero Carbon Strategy, including plans for land use
  • Set up a ‘Just Transition Fund’ to support communities negatively affected by policies to tackle climate change

Nature

  • Introduce a Nature Act which sets legally binding targets for improving water, air, soil and biodiversity, supported by at least £18bn over five years
  • Plant 60m trees a year
  • Invest in restoration of peatlands, heathland, native woodlands, saltmarshes, wetlands and coastal waters, including through piloting ‘rewilding’ approaches
  • Increase the amount of accessible green space and create a new designation of National Nature Parks

PLAID CYMRU

PLAID CYMRU

Future farming policy

  • Retain a direct payment scheme
  • Ensure tree planting plans are closely connected with agri-environment incentives for farmers
  • Maintain ban on GMOs

Food

  • Create a stronger domestic food market underpinned by more resilient processing capacity
  • Support food industry with pro-active public procurement policies
  • Fight for full powers for the Senedd over food labelling to protect and grow the Welsh brand

Flooding

  • Greater emphasis on flood prevention in planning guidelines
  • Plant new woodland in the uplands

Rural crime

  • Devolve policing and recruit an extra 1,600 police officers
  • Devolve powers relating to dog attacks on livestock

Brexit

  • Fight for second referendum and campaign for remain
  • Push to stay in the single market and customs union

Trade and standards

  • Uphold standards in future trade deals
  • Ensure future trade deals secure geographical indications
  • Ensure any imports meet domestic standards

Funding

  • Push Defra to ensure all countries in the UK have an equal say on the total amount of money allocated to farming
  • Replace Barnett Formula with an Office for Fair Funding

Access to labour

  • Ensure Wales has an immigration system which plugs skills gaps in agriculture

Infrastructure

  • Set up a publicly-owned Welsh Broadband Infrastructure Company to guarantee access to full-fibre broadband for every home and business in Wales by 2025
  • Scrap HS2

Nature

  • Advocate use of underground and undersea cables through National Parks and Areas of Natural Beauty
  • Aim to plant a minimum of 2,000 hectares of trees a year from 2020

Animal welfare

  • Tackle TB in wildlife

SNP

SNP

Funding

  • Fight for powers to fund agriculture policy to be repatriated to Scotland
  • Resist UK Government attaching strings to future funding
  • Make UK Government pay costs to rural economy resulting from Brexit

Future farming policy

  • Campaign for future farming policy to be developed in Scotland
  • Ensure repatriation of red meat levy
  • Extend the remit of the GCA
  • Listen to sector views on mandatory written contracts
  • Push for more Government bodies to buy Scottish food
  • Maintain GM-free status

Brexit

  • Support a second referendum with remain on the ballot paper
  • Back revoking Article 50 in a no-deal scenario
  • Stay in single market and customs union

Access to labour

  • Devolve immigration powers
  • Press for seasonal workers’ scheme to meet Scottish needs

Trade and standards

  • Remain aligned with EU standards
  • Ensure red meat sector compensated if facing EU tariffs
  • Keep import tariffs on key agricultural products
  • Oppose US trade talks until tariffs on Scotch whisky dropped
  • Press for reciprocal recognition of geographical indications and for more Scottish products to be protected

Infrastructure

  • Rollout superfast broadband to every home and business in Scotland
  • Press Westminster to reclassify internet as an essential service
  • Work with broadband and mobile service providers to make affordable tariffs widely available
  • Fight against bank, ATM and post office closures

Climate

  • Demand UK accelerates action to meet Scotland’s climate change targets of a 75 per cent reduction in emissions by 2035, net zero carbon emissions by 2040 and net zero all emissions by 2045
  • Ensure a ‘just transition’ for communities affected by climate change policies

Nature

  • Plant 30 million trees in Scotland by 2025
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