Written Statement: Attendance at Inter-Governmental meeting on 6 March

In accordance with the inter-institutional relations agreement, I am writing to notify you of my attendance at a meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Group for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs held on 6 March 2023.

I chaired the meeting, which was also attended by:  Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Islands, Scottish Government; Lorna Slater MSP, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy, and Biodiversity from Scottish Government; Rebecca Pow MP, Minister for Environmental Quality and Resilience, Mark Spencer MP, Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries, James Davies MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, John Lamont MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to the Scotland Office, Steve Baker MP, Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office from UK Government; and  Katrina Godfrey, Permanent Secretary, DAERA in the absence of Northern Ireland ministers. 

The meeting opened with a discussion on the Retained EU Law (REUL) Bill which is currently at committee stage in the House of Lords. Each government provided updates on their respective approaches to work to identify and categorise REUL, commending the positive engagement between the administrations in this area. They also discussed the parliamentary legislative programmes necessary to retain, repeal or reform individual items of legislation.

Next, the Scottish Government gave an update on the progress of their Deposit Return Schemes and a discussion was held on Scottish Government’s request for an exclusion from the UK Internal Market Act.

I then raised the current food shortages and food security going forward, highlighting the need for collaboration on this cross UK issue. We discussed the ongoing cumulative effects of issues such as war in Ukraine, labour shortages, and how climate change is having an impact on food supply. We agreed to discuss this item further at the April IMG.

Finally, the Scottish Government and I raised the lack of progress on various animal welfare legislation and asked for an update in writing.

The next meeting will be held on Monday 17 April.

A communique regarding this meeting will be published on the UK Government website.