I am pleased that we have negotiated a trade deal with the European Union that avoids the potential disruption of no deal, and ensures continued tariff-free and quota-free trade in food, and all goods, with our European neighbours.
Now the Brexit transition period is over, we can also negotiate free trade agreements with other countries around the world, allowing us to reduce or eliminate tariffs and quotas with these countries, and reduce the price of food here, while opening new markets for our world-class food and drink sector.
However, the Government is committed to maintaining our high food standards, and will uphold these standards in any future free trade agreements. The Government has created, and placed on a statutory footing as part of the Agriculture Act, a Trade and Agriculture Commission, chaired by a food safety expert, which will produce reports on each new free trade deal’s impact on animal welfare and agriculture.
I am also pleased that the Government is providing schools with funding to offer food parcels or meals for children eligible for free school meals during this new period of term-time school closures, although it is important that the parcels provided meet Government guidelines for quality and quantity. There is also a national voucher scheme in place for when schools cannot offer food parcels or use local solutions. During the February half-term, the COVID Winter Grant Scheme will ensure that local authorities can support eligible children.