George Eustice – speeches and questions

George Eustice MP recent speeches

  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Vulnerable People: Food Supplies (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: The Government are in close contact with representatives of the food supply chain and with local authorities, including those in the north-east, and also with charities, to ensure that those who need to stay at home will have continued access to food. We have well established ways of working with the food industry during disruption and our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Vulnerable People: Food Supplies (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: It is very important to note that we have significant resilience in our food supply chain, in that food manufacturers are used to coping with increases in demand, not least every year during Christmas. There is not a shortage of food. The challenge we have had is getting food to shelves in time when people have been purchasing more. That is why we have taken steps including setting aside...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Vulnerable People: Food Supplies (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: As I have said, we have taken a number of steps to ensure that we can get food to supermarkets. I have been in daily calls with the food supply sector. Those have included discussions about food banks, and we are in dialogue with supermarkets to ensure that they get access to the supplies they need. I welcome the constructive approach that the shadow Secretary of State is taking. We are also...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Vulnerable People: Food Supplies (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that there is a role for the Government. We must take action to set aside any obstacles to making the food supply chain operate in a way that ensures that people have food. On food banks, as I said, we are in discussion with supermarkets. We have also had discussions with them about competition law, and we will take whatever action is necessary to ensure...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Vulnerable People: Food Supplies (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: My right hon. Friend makes a very important point. That is why earlier this week we had a detailed workshop with both retailers and food processors to identify what they would like to do and what changes to competition law we would need to consider and implement. We are working on that right now.
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Vulnerable People: Food Supplies (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working on a national volunteer project to co-ordinate the many offers of volunteer help that we have had. In the context of food, we have been working very closely with supermarkets to expand their click-and-collect services to make it easier, where possible, for them to expand their delivery capacity to...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Vulnerable People: Food Supplies (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: I am happy to look at the specific issue that my hon. Friend raised. However, it is also worth noting that while there has been an increase in demand at retail shops, notably in supermarkets, there has been a sharp fall in demand in the service trade, as restaurants, pubs and so forth find that demand for their services has plummeted. Our understanding at the moment is that there are not...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Vulnerable People: Food Supplies (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: The Prime Minister made reference yesterday to the importance of those working in the food retail sector, in particular. Later today, the Government will announce jobs defined as key workers, but I can assure him that we fully recognise that over 25% of staff generally working in the food supply chain have children of school age, and that will be reflected when the list is published.
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Support for Farmers (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: We have committed to maintaining the budget for our future agriculture policy at the same level as now, but to direct it differently. We are designing our farming reforms with those who work in agriculture and considering resilience issues. During the transition period, farmers will have time to adapt and prepare for the new policy.
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Support for Farmers (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: My hon. Friend raises an important point. I am aware that Natural England intends to circulate the stoat-trapping general licence to stakeholders this week, and it is working hard to grant those licences as soon as possible. People wishing to control wild birds in protected areas need to apply for an individual licence, as must those wishing to control lesser black-backed or herring gulls...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Support for Farmers (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: My right hon. Friend makes a very important point. He will be aware that our manifesto and our published objectives for the US trade deal make it clear that we will protect our food standards and animal welfare in any future trade deals. I am aware that there has been a proposal for a trade and standards commission, which we are considering, and we are in discussion with other Departments,...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Support for Farmers (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: As I said in response to an earlier question, the Government recognise that a significant number of staff working throughout the supply chain, both retailers and food processors, have children of school age; we estimate that the figure is between 25% and 33%. We therefore recognise that many of them will need to be defined as key workers, but further information on that will be published by...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Support for Farmers (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: We had a clear commitment in our manifesto to protect food standards and animal welfare in any future trade deals we do. Our view is that the right way to do that is through getting our mandate and approach to the negotiations right, and not necessarily by attempting to draft something in legislation.
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Flooded Areas: Support (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: The Government activated the flood recovery framework in November 2019 and February 2020 to provide support to communities such as Calderdale, where 100 mm of rain fell in just 12 hours, causing extensive flooding. I extend my thanks to all those involved in the responses to recent floods, including those in Calderdale; I thank the local council, the Environment Agency, the military and...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Flooded Areas: Support (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: My hon. Friend raises an important point. We are having discussions across government about having a consistent threshold above which the flood recovery framework might be activated. On Storm Ciara, which affected his constituency very badly, in the event, we decided to treat Storms Ciara and Dennis as a single episode, which meant that Calderdale did qualify for the same support that other...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: National Food Strategy (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: As my hon. Friend is aware, Henry Dimbleby is leading an independent review of the food system to develop recommendations to shape a national food strategy. The review was launched in June 2019. A vision for the food system is scheduled for publication in the spring of this year, and the review’s final recommendations will be published over the winter. The Government will then respond to...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: National Food Strategy (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: My hon. Friend makes an important point. Events such as those we are experiencing now remind everyone that a critical component of our food security is healthy and vibrant domestic production, which is why we have committed in the Agriculture Bill to review our food security every five years. That will include a review of the health of the food supply chain and food production in this country.
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: National Food Strategy (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: The hon. Gentleman raises an important point. If there is disruption to people visiting the UK as a result of restrictions put in place, or general concern in other countries, that may have an impact on the number of seasonal workers who come here from countries such as Bulgaria. We are working with the industry and the National Farmers Union to assess the situation, and we will be working...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Topical Questions (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: The covid-19 pandemic presents significant challenges for our country and, indeed, the rest of the world. It is currently my primary focus. I have been holding regular calls with key players in the food supply chain, to ensure that we take whatever steps are necessary to enable our food producers, distributors and retailers to meet an increase in demand. I wish to record my thanks to all...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Topical Questions (19 Mar 2020)
    George Eustice: Earlier this week the Chancellor unveiled a package of measures to support all businesses, and some farmers would qualify for that. I am having regular meetings with the National Farmers Union to address any concerns that it might have. The NFU’s principal concern, in common with many other industries in the food supply chain, is the potential pressures on staff.