Millions in EU sudsidies go to the UK wealthiest landowners

Wealthiest landowners get millions in subsidies

Published on Monday 5 March 2012 09:54

Some of the wealthiest landowners in the UK are receiving millions of pounds in European Union subsidies, an investigation has revealed.

The BBC Panorama investigation showed that in 2010, 47 payments of over £1m were made to individuals and business – many some of the richest in the country – across the UK under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

CAP payouts are rewarded for the amount of agricultural land a person owns, meaning often the richest and largest landowners receive the biggest payments, Panorama said.

The situation is prompting calls for a new system of capping to end large payouts.

The programme, to be broadcast tonight, collected anonymised figures for 2010, the most recent available, for all four UK administrations: the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra); Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

In England, 512 recipients were given more than £250,000, 98 got more than £500,000 and 37 got at least £1m.

Across the UK, 709 got more than £250,000, 133 were given at least £500,000 and 47 received more than £1m. The total number of payments for the whole of the UK in 2010 was 889.

Panorama said those benefiting from large subsidy payments include wealthy figures such as Sir Richard Sutton, a baronet with extensive property holdings who is said to have received £1.9m in farming subsidies last year.

Members of the Royal family also benefited, including the Queen. According to Panorama she has received around £7m in farming subsidies over the past decade and the Duke of Westminster has had around £6m in that time.

European Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos hopes to end the big payouts by introducing a cap of 300,000 euro (£250,000).

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