BBC to highlight wealthy CAP recipiants
SOME of the wealthiest landowners in the UK, including the Queen and the Duke of Westminster, are receiving millions of pounds in EU subsidies.
Investigations carried out for the BBC’s Panorama programme have shown, in 2010, 47 payments of more than £1 million were made to individuals and businesses under the Common Agricultural Policy.
The Queen has received around £7m in farming subsidies over the last 10 years for Sandringham Farms on her Norfolk estate, while the Duke of Westminster, one of the UK’s wealthiest landowners, received around £6m for his Grosvenor Farms over the same period.
According to the programme, another who benefitted from the large subsidy payments last year was Sir Richard Sutton, a baronet who appears in the Sunday Times Rich List, who was given £1.9m in farming subsidies.
The BBC claims in England 37 recipients received at least £1m, 98 received more than £500,000 and 512 received more than £250,000. In the UK as a whole, 133 were given at least £500,000 and 709 received more than £250,000.
The system has been defended by NFU president Peter Kendall, who said it was ‘not a great PR story’, and it was an ‘anomoly’ that some people who had very large land holdings and therefore did not do much with it, received some support.
The situation was ‘unavoidable’ with the present system of CAP, he said.
The programme claims there is a loophole which means millions of pounds each year are being given to some individuals and companies who are not carrying out any farming activities in return.
However, European Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos told the BBC he was determined to ensure only ‘active farmers’ could claim and was hoping to end the big payouts by introducing a cap of 300,000 euros (£250,000).
But a Defra spokesman told the programme bigger farms would restructure to avoid losing subsidies and the only winners would be lawyers. The spokesman added capping would also affect land-owning charities including the National Trust.
- The Panorama programme ‘The Money Farmers’ is due to be screened at 8.30 tonight on BBC1. Join Farmers Guardian as we discuss the program live on twitter tonight. #bbcpanorama