LAST week I spoke in the second reading of the Agriculture Bill, the legislation that will enable us to completely re-think our land use policy on exiting the EU and leaving the Common Agricultural policy.

For too many years we have been tied into a system, together with 27 other countries, that has not necessarily been best suited to UK food production and environmental priorities, with farmers simply paid for the privilege of owning land.

Now we have the opportunity to change this, with an emphasis on paying those on the land for public services delivered, such as clean water, healthier soils in which to grow sustainable food, woodland to reduce flooding, heritage and culture, access to the countryside; as well as improvements to agricultural productivity and efficiency.

I have met with a great many constituents, including farmers, the National Farmers Union, Country Land & Business Association, Wildlife Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, transition groups and so on, to consider how this system should be developed and I was pleased to be able to represent their views in my speech (as well as to get a mention into a Prime Minister’s Question).

Talking of the PM, this week she will have received the joint letter signed by four Somerset MP’s stressing the need for financial assistance for Somerset County Council and highlighting possible options in the light of their current funding difficulties.

Back in Taunton Deane, as usual I’ve been keeping in touch with our business community.

Carly Press, a print and design company based at Wellington, is certainly thriving. It’s very much a family affair, started by current MD, Mark Gladstone Smith’s grandfather 36 years ago and now involving Mark’s dad, mum, and sister Carly (whom the company is named after).

It’s a similar story of growth at Tarmac’s site at Henlade, where donning a hard hat, I visited the pre-cast concrete facility which has ambitious plans for expansion targeting the growing housing market.

Businesses like these two are so important to our economy both locally and nationally and creating an environment in which they can develop is essential.