HOUSE OF COMMONS
LONDON SW1A 0AA
Mr Denis Walker
Our ref: RSE8241
6th September 2010
Dear Mr Walker,
Thank you for contacting me about the Sustainable Livestock Bill.
In May 2010, the Prime Minister appointed me to be a Government Whip. In my role I have responsibility for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Education, and Private Members’ Bills. Therefore though I appreciate the invitation to speak publicly about this Bill, unfortunately I will be unable to accept. However, I would like to address the concerns this issue raises.
The Government is strongly committed to sustainable farming and to protecting the environment. We are fully aware of the environmental issues surrounding livestock farming and have been setting out a plan to create more sustainability in the food chain. The Coalition Agreement stated the need to protect the environment for future generations and to make our economy more environmentally sustainable. Much more is needed to be done in order to support our farming industry and create a sustainable food supply.
We have made a commitment to introduce an Ombudsman in the Office of Fair Trading to enforce the grocery supply code of practice and curb abuses of power which undermine our farmers and act against the long term interests of consumers. The Minister of State for agriculture, Jim Paice MP, has already held discussions with the National Farmers’ Union and other bodies to look at ways of creating greater fairness.
I believe that the changes made already by the Government are a step in the right direction for greater sustainability and environmental responsibility in the way we produce our food, and so I am afraid that I will not be supporting the Sustainable Livestock Bill.
Once again, thank you for contacting me.
James Duddridge MP