South West MP George Eustice appointed Minister of State at Defra – again

The government has confirmed that Brexiteer George Eustice has been appointed Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) – for a second time.

Mr Eustice was previously Minister of State at Defra from May 11 in 2015 to the end of February this year. He is the Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth.

A former member of the EFRA Select Committee, George Eustice comes from a farming background. In fact, his family still runs a fruit farm, restaurant and farm shop in Cornwall. They also keep a herd of South Devon cattle and the country’s oldest herd of the rare breed of pig, the British Lop.

During his time as Farming Minister, Mr Eustice pressed hard to protect seasonal agricultural workers.

Earlier this month, the MP tabled an amendment to the Agriculture Bill which would create a duty on the Government to spend at least 0.2 per cent of Gross National Income on the farmed environment.

At the time, Mr Eustice said: “The government has already guaranteed the agriculture budget until at least 2022 but, in the early stages of the Bill, there were concerns expressed about what might happen to the budget after 2022. This amendment addresses those concerns and brings the Agriculture Bill into line with other modern legislation like the International Development Act which creates a duty to offer financial assistance.

“Many of the purposes set out in clause 1 of the Bill are directly linked to the delivery of the UK’s international commitments on the environment so it is right that they are properly funded and that spending guarantees are underpinned in statute. There is currently an anomaly where money we spend on environmental projects in developing countries is guaranteed in statute but there is no equivalent underpinning to safeguard investment in our own environment.

“The current agriculture budget is very small compared to other items of government spending. I am proposing that we commit to guarantee just a fraction of what is already spent on overseas aid. This change will also make things simpler for the Treasury since, rather than worrying about the budget, all they will need to do is perform an annual calculation.”

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