George Eustice – speeches and questions

George Eustice MP recent speeches

  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Scottish Fishing Businesses (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: Under the UK-EU trade and co-operation agreement, the UK has secured tariff-free access for fisheries products and a substantial transfer of quota from the European Union, benefiting fishing communities across the UK, including Scotland. The transfer is equivalent to 25% of the value of the EU’s historic catch in UK waters, worth £146 million delivered over five years. All fisheries...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Scottish Fishing Businesses (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: Yes, I do still believe that, and we have a 25% uplift in quota as a result of the trade and co-operation agreement and regulatory freedom that we did not have before. It is worth noting that we are now seeing lorry loads of fish clearing border control posts in France typically in under an hour—sometimes a little longer, but it is an improving situation. Volumes of trade are back up to...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Scottish Fishing Businesses (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: As I said, volumes of fish exports are currently running at about 85% of normal volumes. Given coronavirus and the lockdown in the EU, we think that is probably about the right level, given the stress to the markets in the European Union. It is an improving situation. Well over half of all consignments now clear border control posts within an hour, and typically in 45 minutes. Over 90% are...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Office for Environmental Protection (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: Now that we have left the European Union, we have the opportunity to do things better. We will innovate and improve our environmental and agricultural standards, enabling us to identify where we can deliver better environmental outcomes more effectively and in ways that better align with our regulatory systems.
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Office for Environmental Protection (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: Apologies, Mr Speaker. Work to establish the Office for Environmental Protection continues at pace. We have appointed the chair and interim CEO, with non-executive directors to follow, and the headquarters will be in Worcester.
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Office for Environmental Protection (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: My hon. Friend makes an important point. The interim OEP will be able to produce an independent assessment of the Government’s progress towards their 25-year environment plan and receive complaints about failures of public authorities to comply with environmental law. It will take decisions on operational matters such as recruitment, accommodation and facilities; develop the OEP strategy,...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Office for Environmental Protection (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: My hon. Friend makes an important point. Although the timetable for the Environment Bill has slipped by a few months, we are working at pace to implement the policies and measures behind it. We have announced Dame Glenys Stacey as the chair of the OEP and Worcester as its HQ, and it will launch on an interim basis in July. We are also progressing work on developing targets. We have already...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Office for Environmental Protection (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: I believe it is fit for purpose. We have set up an independent Office for Environmental Protection that has powers to investigate. It will have powers to bring a judicial review, and powers to investigate and follow up on any complaints that the law has been broken. Crucially, as well, it has been given some work to develop those targets, and also to comment on progress towards both the...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Import Checks: Live Animals and Products (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: We are already conducting some checks on live animals, with full documentary checks and physical checks being conducted at the premises of destination. We plan to introduce some documentary checks on products of animal origin next month and then begin some physical checks from July onwards, and also to introduce similar checks on plant products later this year. Recruitment of staff by the...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Import Checks: Live Animals and Products (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: Unlike the European Union, we have taken a pragmatic approach to phasing in border controls, so that we can protect business supply chains and UK consumers, but when we do start to introduce those export health certificates, they will be certificates that are of a similar form to those of the European Union, since they are derived from retained EU law. I understand the point my hon. Friend is...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Agricultural Policy: Farmers (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: Since 2018, we have been working with farmers to build up ideas and gain their insights. So far, more than 3,000 farmers have helped us to develop aspects of our new approach through 72 tests and trials. Our co-design approach includes the sustainable farming incentive pilot, which will open for expressions of interest shortly. We will also be working with farmers on various consultations and...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Agricultural Policy: Farmers (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: My hon. Friend makes a very important point. Dairy businesses such as the one she refers to in her constituency are embracing technology and innovation, and we want to support them to go further. Over the last three years, we have provided around £75 million to farmers to help them purchase new and innovative technology. From autumn this year, the new farming investment fund will help...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Fish Products: Standards (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: I regularly have discussions with Cabinet colleagues on this issue, in particular through the Cabinet Sub-Committee dealing with EU exit. Import controls on fish products are being introduced in stages. Imports of most fish products have required illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing documentation since January. That includes a catch certificate. We plan to introduce documentary checks...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Fish Products: Standards (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: As I said to the Chair of the Select Committee earlier, when we start to introduce those checks they will indeed be equivalent and similar to the types of checks that the European Union is currently requiring on our own fish exports. At that point, I hope there will be an opportunity for some discussion about how we can each ensure that we have the right safeguards for our respective markets...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Topical Questions (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: When it comes to pesticides policy, the Government apply the precautionary principle. Emergency authorisations are an integral part of the precautionary principle, because they allow restrictions on a precautionary basis for certain products while allowing their use where there is a risk that cannot be controlled by any other means. At the beginning of the year, applying that principle, the...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Topical Questions (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: My hon. Friend makes a very important point. My ministerial colleague, the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Victoria Prentis), was nodding to give her assent to a meeting. Indeed, I would also be more than happy to meet fish processors in my hon. Friend’s constituency. I can confirm that the new £100 million fund to...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Topical Questions (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: I have made it clear all along that the Government had hoped to get closer to a zonal attachment sharing arrangement in that first multi-annual agreement, but the EU has been required to forfeit 25% of the fish that it has historically caught in our waters—a significant uplift—as the price for continued access. That additional fishing quota is worth £140 million.
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Topical Questions (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: As I said, we have seen, through the trade and co-operation agreement, a significant increase in quotas—25%, worth some £146 million. As we have left the single market and the customs union, there are some new administrative processes in place. That was challenging for the fishing sector during January, which is why we opened a fund to support it. Looking to the long term, however, we have...
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Topical Questions (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: I do not accept that. Obviously, the Chancellor has made an announcement in relation to extending the universal credit uplift to help the financially vulnerable through the current situation. We also announced new rounds of funding late last year to support charities such as FareShare in food redistribution and to support other food charities to help those in need.
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Topical Questions (4 Mar 2021)
    George Eustice: My hon. Friend makes a good point. All rural areas need good digital connectivity, including his constituency. The Government have delivered superfast broadband to more than 5 million premises, with 96% of UK premises now able to access superfast speeds. We are investing an unprecedented £5 billion to support deployment of gigabit broadband in the hardest-to-reach areas of the country.