UPDATE : initial reaction from Scottish Ministers – here.
The Brexit bill – the Agriculture Bill 2017-19 was published today, its second reading is tomorrow. The document is here.
The Agriculture Bill (“the Bill”) will provide the legal framework for the United Kingdom (UK) to leave the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and establish a new system based on public money for public goods for the next generation of farmers and land managers. It is the first Agriculture Bill to be published in 70 years.
The Agriculture Bill includes the following:
(1) Powers to give financial assistance and move towards a new system based on paying public money for public goods. Such payments may encompass (but are not limited to) environmental protection, public access to the countryside and measures to reduce flooding.
(2) Powers to collect and share data from those within or closely connected to the agri- food supply chain. The data collected and shared under these provisions will help farmers and producers increase productivity, help producers to manage risk and market volatility, and support animal and plant health and traceability.
(3) Powers to make regulations setting and amending marketing standards for agricultural products and to make provision about the classification of carcasses by slaughterhouses.
(4) Provisions to create a domestic system of recognition of Producer Organisations to encourage collaboration amongst growers. These provisions will provide for exemptions from competition law for recognised organisations.
(5) Provisions for the Secretary of State to make regulations imposing obligations on first purchasers of agricultural products in relation to contracts with producers. This is aimed at protecting producers and consumers from unfair trading practices.
Once the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament the following provisions will extend to England and Wales only:
(1) Part 1 which relates to new financial assistance powers
(2) Part 3 which relates to the collection and sharing of data
(3) Clause 20 which relates to the power to make regulations for marketing standards and carcass classification.
Schedule 3 extends mostly identical powers to the Welsh Ministers as those conferred on the Secretary of State in Parts 1-5 of the Bill.
Schedule 4 extends similar powers to DAERA (Northern Ireland) as those conferred on the Secretary of State in Parts 2-5 of the Bill.
The rest of the Act will extend to the UK. This is because the relevant provisions:
(a) Relate to a reserved matter; or
(b) Amend, or give powers to amend retained EU legislation which will extend to the UK. Such provisions may, however, apply more narrowly to a particular jurisdiction.
Annex A gives more information. Please refer to it for details re Scotland.