Following the agreement of the Windsor Framework, plants, seeds, and trees staying in the UK, including previously banned seed potatoes and other shrubs and plants, will be able to move from GB to NI as they do in the rest of the UK, increasing access and choice for businesses.
Plants, including seed potatoes, will move without routine checks or burdensome certification, with the only requirement being an industry issued plant label in line with other intra-UK movements. Those moving seed potatoes will be inspected and approved by a competent authority annually which will allow traders to print and apply the plant label themselves.
Regarding the timeline for introduction of these requirements for seed potatoes, we expect the new requirements will come into force later this year in autumn 2023.
We will support businesses in adapting to these new arrangements and will provide further details in the coming weeks to ensure that requirements are implemented in the best way possible for the supply chain.
Local MP Richard Thomson has described the UK Government’s position on bankers’ bonuses as a “cop out”. Mr Thomson’s comments follow a response from a junior Treasury Minister after he raised the issue of the bonuses being paid to bosses at the Nat West Group, which owns Royal Bank of Scotland and is still 42 per cent owned by the taxpayer.
Nat West Chief Executive Alison Rose was paid £5.25million last year, a 10 per cent increase, while the total paid out in bankers’ bonuses was up £70million to £367million. Mr Thomson raised the matter with the Chancellor of the Exchequer following complaints from constituents.
In a response to the Gordon MP, Junior Treasury Minister Andrew Griffith MP stated:
“UK Government Investments manages the Government’s shareholding at arm’s length and does not intervene in commercial or operational decisions, such as remuneration, which are for the NWG Board. This approach supports the Government’s long-term strategy to return NWG to private sector ownership in a way that provides value for money for the taxpayer.”
Commenting on the response, Richard Thomson MP said:
“This nothing more than a cop out by the UK Government, and a not very convincing one at that.
“I believe people should be rewarded fairly for the work they do and there is no doubt that running a major bank is a demanding job. However, the staff who work on the front line in the branches and in the back offices handling customers’ accounts are seeing their pay packets become increasingly far away from the levels enjoyed by their bosses.
“In a year where the 42 per cent taxpayer-owned bank has made bumper profits, we’ve also not seen much evidence of that being passed on to customers who hold savings with the bank. Analysis by financial information service Moneyfacts showed that the increase on standard mortgage charges far outstripped that on standard savings accounts - by a factor of six times.
“The taxpayer was left to pick up the bill for the economic mismanagement of the bankers and they should not now be financing the bonuses of those at the top of the Nat West Group.”