Coronavirus Act: Food supply

The Coronavirus Act provides powers to require information about food supply chains. The Government has said that it is collaborating with the food sector to manage the risk of disruption to supply chains, but that the Act provides powers in case requests for voluntary provision of information were not to be complied with in the future.…

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Commons Library analysis of the Environment Bill 2019-20

A Commons Library analysis of the Environment Bill 2019-20. The Bill was given its first reading on 30 January 2020 and passed its second reading without division on 26 February 2020. Committee stage started on 10 March 2020 but was adjourned on 19 March due to the impact of Coronavirus. The Public Bill Committee is suspended until a time and date to be fixed by the Chair of the committee. …

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Direct Payments to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) Bill 2019-20

This briefing sets out the policy background to and provisions in the Direct Payment to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) Bill (2019-20). The Bill received Royal Assent on 30 January 2020. The Act provides powers to Ministers to allow farm support direct payments to continue in 2020 after the UK left the EU. The briefing summarises Parliamentary scrutiny stages of the Bill. …

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Brexit: Trade issues for food and agriculture

This briefing discusses how future UK trade policy after Brexit could affect the availability, price and quality of food, as well as the prospects for farmers, food producers and processors. It sets out key statistics on the UK’s international food and drink trade and considers the potential opportunities and challenges of new trading relationships after the UK leaves the EU, including under a Withdrawal Agreement or a no deal scenario. …

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Commons Library Analysis of the Environment Bill 2019

The Environment Bill 2019 was announced in the Queen’s Speech on 14 October 2019. First Reading was on 15 October 2019. This briefing paper sets out the background to the Bill, reaction to it and its main provisions. This Bill fell at dissolution prior to the General Election in 2019 and is no longer current. …

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Revisions to the Political Declaration on the framework for future EU-UK relations

The UK and EU agreed a revised Political Declaration on the framework for the future UK-EU relationship on 17 October. This Briefing provides an outline of the contents of the Declaration and the key changes in the revised text …

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The October 2019 EU UK Withdrawal Agreement

Boris Johnson’s Government have negotiated a new ‘deal’ with the European Union. It is formed of a Political Declaration and a Withdrawal Agreement. This paper focuses on the Withdrawal Agreement and how it compares to the one negotiated by Theresa May’s Government in November 2018.

The main differences are in the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland or the ‘backstop’ as it is commonly known. It contains very different arrangements, the UK will no longer be in a single customs territory or union with the EU. The UK will no longer be legally bound to continue with level playing field commitments at the end of the transition period.

Northern Ireland will still be in the UK’s customs territory and VAT area, however, the region will align with the EU’s rules in these areas. Northern Ireland will remain mostly aligned to the EU’s regulations for goods. Four years after the end of the transition period Northern Ireland’s democratic institutions will vote on whether they wish to continue the arrangements in the Protocol.…

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No deal Brexit: What happens to farm payments?

UK farmers receive around €4 billion per year under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Under any Brexit scenario, the UK will leave the CAP when it leaves the EU. A new policy framework and legislative basis will be needed. Work is in progress to develop this: the four UK nations are developing their own plans for farm support and an Agriculture Bill is currently awaiting further consideration in the Commons. But what happens to farm payments in the event of a no deal Brexit? This briefing sets out the Government’s plans to continue to pay farmers after exit day and the legal measures to enable this to happen.

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The UK’s EU Withdrawal Agreement

This briefing looks in detail at the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the EU and UK and finalised on 14 November 2018. It was endorsed by EU Member State leaders at a special European Council summit on 25 November and the UK Prime Minister promoted it in the UK Parliament and around the country. The Agreement was debated at length in Parliament on several occasions and has been voted on three times. But the House of Commons has not endorsed it. A second extension of Article 50 took exit day to 31 October 2019, but once again the UK is faced with the possibility of leaving the EU without an agreement if this agreement or another one is not ratified by the UK and the EU. …

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