Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Farm Subsidies.

Whilst Gregory Barker argues that Feed In Tariffs for Renewable Energy need to be reduced because it adds £26 to each households energy bills a year, Caroline Spelman on the other hand is quite happy to continue creating more and more farm subsidy millionaires from the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) grants which costs each taxpayer (not households) a £107 a year.

This is how the Guardian reported on the CAP a few weeks ago:
Britain will try to "substantially" reduce European subsidies handed to millions of farmers each year but will resist European commission plans to limit payments to the richest...

Britain will argue that the commission's plan to cap the amount of money paid to Europe's biggest farmers is unworkable, and would lead to artificial changes of ownerships. In addition, it will argue that proposals to pay younger farmers more in order to encourage new entrants into the industry would prove unworkable.

The campaign group farmsubsidy.org says there are 1,212 farm subsidy millionaires across Europe, including 268 in Germany, 174 in France and 29 in Britain. Charities such as the RSPB and corporations such as Nestle are believed to receive more than £1m a year. The Queen qualified for £473,500 in farm aid in 2009 for Sandringham farms.

Several government ministers and their families receive large sums from Europe. The environment and fisheries minister Richard Benyon's family estates received over £200,000 in EU farm subsidies in 2009, the farming minister Jim Paice and the Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson both have farms, and David Cameron's father-in-law, Lord Sheffield, is a wealthy landowner believed to be receiving large EU subsidies. Benyon resigned his chairmanship of the family estates business when he became a minister.

In total, nearly 200,000 farmers in Britain received payments of £3.3bn in 2009, up from £2.6bn in 2008, but the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has enforced an information blackout on the subsidies paid to the richest.

Sugar and dairy processing companies were among the largest recipients of European farm subsidies last year. The number of farmers and food companies who received individual payments of more than €1m this year increased by more than 20% on the previous year, according to farmsubsidy.org.

So there we have it the Con Dem government want to reduce the CAP but not to the richest which means that if they have their way small farmers in Wales will suffer; whilst the Duchy of Cornwall, the Queen, Nestle and Tate and Lyle will continue to add to the millions of pounds of taxpayers money that they've already accumulated in farm subsidies since 1999.

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