‘It’s an absolutely corrupt system’: How EU farm subsidies are abused by oligarchs and populists

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The cost of EU corruption To put that figure into a global context it could end world hunger

The European Union spends £50.71 billion a year subsidising agriculture. But a chunk of that money emboldens strongmen, enriches politicians and finances corrupt dealing.

A recent report alleged government officials in Hungary and the Czech Republic misused €59 billion in farming subsidies that money meant for farming was used to prop up “oligarchs and political patrons” in central and eastern Europe.

EU officials have defended the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its rules after an investigation exposed corrupt and politicised use of the subsidies in parts of Central and Eastern Europe.

The EU today denied its £51billion agriculture budget is used to prop up political corruption in eastern countries following a damning report into fraud.

The European Commission – which is responsible for legislation, upholding treaties and managing the EU budget – claims to have ‘very clear rules for how funds should be managed’ and ‘takes any allegation of misuse very seriously,’ a spokesman insisted.

A detailed report by the New York Times alleged that some of the EU’s farm subsidies from its common agriculture policy (CAP) prop up ‘oligarchs and political patrons’ in, most notably, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

The report found the system to be ‘warped by corruption and self-dealing’ and argued that it had become too important to keeping the EU together to be fundamentally reformed.

A spokesman said the EU anti-fraud office, OLAF, looks into such allegations and added that the main responsibility for correct spending of the budget falls on member state governments.

The EU gave the stock answer to criticisms of the EU place the blame on national governments., saying:

‘We are not here to replace national governments,’ she said. ‘We cannot and will not do the work for them.’

The Commission spokespeople shot back by saying that past abuses had been caught and referred to OLAF, and further investigations are ongoing.

But they admitted the European Union is only now about to get its first European Public Prosecutor’s Office to go after wrongdoing involving EU funds that national governments are unable – or unwilling – to prosecute.

‘We have a framework in place and this framework is working,’ Rosario said.

He added that ‘we are actually following up’ on issues of conflict of interest as highlighted in the New York Times piece, which focused on alleged patronage under the system by Hungary’s populist – and anti-EU – prime minister, Viktor Orban.

The New York Times found that some of the EU’s €59 billion (£50.71 billion) farm subsidies from its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was being misused by corrupt government officials, notably in Hungary and the Czech Republic.

It said the farming subsidies were “warped by corruption and self-dealing.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban adresses the audience on stage after the local elections in Budapest, Hungary.Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government was one of those highlighted in the New York Times article for misspending EU farming subsidies.

The article also argued that the CAP had become too intertwined with how the EU worked, meaning that little could be done to reform the subsidies system.

The EU claimed it is only just getting its first European Public prosecutors office to ensure EU money is being spent correctly, and hold governments to account if not.

THE COSTS OF CORRUPTION ACROSS THE EUROPEAN UNION

Pam Bartlett Quintanilla a Transparency and Democracy Campaigner in her excellent article lays out the cold bare facts concerning the extent of corruption.

Corruption and abuse of power are not new phenomena in Europe, but the lack of ambition from the EU institutions to address corruption is now arguably emboldening some governments, propped up in some cases by EU funds, to increase their attacks on the rule of law or to consolidate their autocratic regimes.

The headlines across Europe are increasingly full of corruption scandals – sometimes involving EU funds – embroiling politicians from across the political spectrum. Recent high-profile corruption cases have toppled the centre-right Rajoy government in Spain or triggered votes of non-confidence in Babiš’ liberal-led Czech Republic.

The latest estimates regarding the cost of corruption across the EU put the loss to GDP as a result somewhere between €179 billion and €950 billion each year.

However, corruption and its costs are often hard to grasp for the ordinary citizen, who still suffers the consequences of a lack of investment in essential public services, an unfair business environment and an abusive and reckless elite.

Using the most recent data and studies available, this document compares the costs of corruption to public investment in education, healthcare, childcare and housing, elderly care, or policing and fire services. The aim is to raise public awareness about the cost of corruption across the EU by giving tangible examples of what this could mean for the average person, and to call for a substantial increase in the fight against corruption by the European Union institutions.

We have estimated that the hit to GDP, as a result of corruption across the EU, is around € 904 billion every single year (1).
This includes the indirect effects of corruption, such as loss in tax revenues and decreased foreign investment.

The cost of EU corruption.

To put that figure into a global context: it could end world hunger

To put that figure into a global context: it could end world hunger (annual cost: €229 billion); provide basic education to all children in 46 low and middle-income countries (annual cost: €22 billion), help eliminate malaria (annual cost: €4 billion); provide universal safe water and sanitation (annual cost: €129 billion); expand healthcare to gradually provide universal care to all in low and middle-income countries (annual cost: €115 billion); make the necessary yearly investment required to give everyone access to electricity by 2030 (annual cost: €45 billion); and then there would still be around €360 billion left.

At a national level, the damage done by corruption to the GDP of EU Member States ranges from 15% in Romania (€38.6 billion) to 0.76% in the Netherlands (still adding up however to over €4.4 billion). Italy breaks the record in absolute terms, losing €236.8 billion each year to corruption. France comes second, losing €120.2 billion each year to corruption, whilst Germany takes a hit to GDP of over €104 billion every single year.

At a more personal level, if we imagine that this money could be evenly distributed among the more than 510 million people living in Europe in 2016, each person would get on average €1772 per year.

The New York Times article

The European Union spends $65 billion a year subsidising agriculture. But a chunk of that money emboldens strongmen, enriches politicians and finances corrupt dealing.

A New York Times investigation, conducted in nine countries for much of 2019, uncovered a subsidy system that is deliberately opaque, grossly undermines the European Union’s environmental goals and is warped by corruption and self-dealing.

CSAKVAR, Hungary — Under Communism, farmers laboured in the fields that stretch for miles around this town west of Budapest, reaping wheat and corn for a government that had stolen their land.

Today, their children toil for new overlords, a group of oligarchs and political patrons who have annexed the land through opaque deals with the Hungarian government. They have created a modern twist on a feudal system, giving jobs and aid to the compliant, and punishing the mutinous.

These land barons, as it turns out, are financed and emboldened by the European Union.

Every year, the 28-country bloc pays out $65 billion in farm subsidies intended to support farmers around the Continent and keep rural communities alive. But across Hungary and much of Central and Eastern Europe, the bulk goes to a connected and powerful few. The prime minister of the Czech Republic collected tens of millions of dollars in subsidies just last year. Subsidies have underwritten Mafia-style land grabs in Slovakia and Bulgaria.

Europe’s farm program, a system that was instrumental in forming the European Union, is now being exploited by the same antidemocratic forces that threaten the bloc from within. This is because governments in Central and Eastern Europe, several led by populists, have wide latitude in how the subsidies, funded by taxpayers across Europe, are distributed — even as the entire system is shrouded in secrecy.

Mr Orban’s government has auctioned off thousands of acres of state land to his family members and close associates, including one childhood friend who has become one of the richest men in the country, the Times investigation found. Those who control the land, in turn, qualify for millions in subsidies from the EU.

“It’s an absolutely corrupt system,” said Jozsef Angyan, who once served as Mr Orban’s undersecretary for rural development.

The brazen patronage in Fejer County was not supposed to happen. Since the earliest days of the EU, farm policy has had outsized importance as an immutable system of public welfare. In the United States, Social Security or Medicare are perhaps the closest equivalents, but neither of them is a sacrosanct provision written into the nation’s founding documents.

This is a crony economy, where friends and political allies get special treatment
Gyorgy Rasko, former Hungarian agriculture minister
The EU spends three times as much as the United States on farm subsidies each year, but as the system has expanded, accountability has not kept up. National governments publish some information on recipients, but the largest beneficiaries hide behind complex ownership structures. And although farmers are paid in part based on their acreage, property data is kept secret, making it harder to track land grabs and corruption. The EU maintains a master database but, citing the difficulty of downloading the requested information, refused to provide the Times a copy.

In response, the Times compiled its own database that, while incomplete, supplemented publicly available information on subsidy payments. This included corporate and government records, data on land sales and leases, and leaked documents and non-public land records received from whistleblowers and researchers.

The Times confirmed land deals that benefited a select group of political insiders, visited farms in several countries, and used government records to determine subsidy payments received by some of the largest of these beneficiaries. The Times investigation also built on the work done by Hungarian journalists and others who have investigated land abuses despite a media crackdown by Mr Orban’s government.

Even as the EU champions the subsidy program as an essential safety net for hardworking farmers, studies have repeatedly shown that 80 per cent of the money goes to the biggest 20 per cent of recipients. And some of those at the top have used that money to amass political power.

The program is the biggest item in the European Union’s central budget, accounting for 40 percent of expenditures. It’s one of the largest subsidy programs in the world.

Yet some lawmakers in Brussels who write and vote on farm policy admit they often have no idea where the money goes.

One place it goes is here in Fejer County, home to Hungary’s populist prime minister, Viktor Orban. An icon to Europe’s far right and a harsh critic of Brussels and European elites, Mr. Orban is happy to accept European Union money. The Times investigation found that he uses European subsidies as a patronage system that enriches his friends and family, protects his political interests and punishes his rivals.

State Land Sold to Viktor Orban’s Relatives and Friends

About 1,200 acres of state land were sold to Mr. Orban’s son-in-law and his family.

More than 3,800 acres of state land went to Mr. Orban’s childhood friend Lorinc Meszaros and his family. Nearly 1,000 acres of state land were sold to Janos Flier, a business partner of Mr. Orban’s wife. Other plots were sold to a lawyer from Budapest and his family members. The owners lease part of their property to Mr. Meszaros.

Sources: Documents obtained from Jozsef Angyan, government records and other sources; Hungarian Agricultural Parcel Identification System; satellite image from CNES/Airbus/Maxar Technologies via Google Earth By Jin Wu and Agustin Armendariz

Mr. Orban’s government has auctioned off thousands of acres of state land to his family members and close associates, including one childhood friend who has become one of the richest men in the country, the Times investigation found. Those who control the land, in turn, qualify for millions in subsidies from the European Union.

 

It’s an absolutely corrupt system

“It’s an absolutely corrupt system,” said Jozsef Angyan, who once served as Mr. Orban’s under secretary for rural development.

The brazen patronage in Fejer County was not supposed to happen. Since the earliest days of the European Union, farm policy has had outsized importance as an immutable system of public welfare. In the United States, Social Security or Medicare are perhaps the closest equivalents, but neither of them is a sacrosanct provision written into the nation’s founding documents.

The European Union spends three times as much as the United States on farm subsidies each year, but as the system has expanded, accountability has not kept up. National governments publish some information on recipients, but the largest beneficiaries hide behind complex ownership structures. And although farmers are paid, in part, based on their acreage, property data is kept secret, making it harder to track land grabs and corruption. The European Union maintains a master database but, citing the difficulty of downloading the requested information, refused to provide The Times a copy.

The Hungarian government, led by Prime Minister Vikto Orban of the far-right Fidesz national conservative party, also remarked “The New York Times article questions and sources clearly reflect a biased preconception about the topic.”

Over resent years a number of Journalist have been murdered whilst investigation EU corruption including the paradise papers LINK HERE.

UK Rich list landowners receive massive subsidies from the EU

One in five of the biggest recipients of European farming subsidies in Britain are billionaires and millionaires on the Sunday Times Rich List, research suggests.

Rankings by Greenpeace of the 100 companies and landowners receiving the biggest basic payments under the Common Agricultural Policy shows 20 of them are wealthy enough to feature on the Rich List, up from 16 the year before.

Sandringham Farms, the estate owned by the Queen, received £557,707, while Grosvenor Farms Ltd, which farms the Duke of Westminster’s estate, raked in £437,434. The billionaire landowner died in August and left his fortune to his 25-year-old son.

The Queen, received £557,707 EU subsidies

The government has promised to maintain CAP subsidies after Britain leaves the EU, until 2020 when a domestic system will be put in place. It comes as the UK decides on the future of farming subsidies after Brexit, with Greenpeace calling for public money to support schemes that deliver public goods such as protecting wildlife, preventing flooding and producing sustainable food.

Dozens of MPs and peers, including some with vast inherited wealth, own or manage farms that collectively have received millions of pounds in European Union subsidies.

An analysis by the Guardian and the environmental group Friends of the Earth identified 48 parliamentarians who claimed £5.7m in farming subsidies under the EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP) in 2017, the latest year for which figures are available.

The largest single payment – £473,000 – was paid to a Sussex farming firm run by the 18th Duke of Norfolk, a large landowner whose estate dates from the middle ages.

Conservative MP Richard Drax, descendant of a 19th-century slave-owner and current resident of the family ancestral seat of Charborough House in Dorset, owns a farm that received £411,000.

Matt Ridley, the fifth Viscount Ridley, runs two firms which received £316,000. The Blagdon estate in Northumberland has been owned by his family since 1700. The hereditary peer was forced to resign as chairman of the Northern Rock bank in 2007 after presiding over its financial collapse.

Guy Shrubsole, a Friends of the Earth campaigner, questioned whether the politicians would have their own financial interests or the public interest uppermost in their minds when they came to vote on reforming the subsidy system. He said: “We hope that politicians will put the public interest first and vote to radically overhaul farm subsidies so that, in future, public money goes to pay for public goods, like restoring nature and reducing flooding.”

The list of payments has been compiled from the declarations of financial interests – such as land ownership and company directorships – made by MPs and peers in parliament and the official database of EU payments in the latest available year (up to October 2017) that is published by the government. LINK HERE.

UK Peers and MPs in receipt of EU farming subsidies

Name of parliamentarian Sum of EU CAP payments in 2017 Name of financial entity receiving the payment in the year to 15 October 2017
Duke of Norfolk (Edward Fitzalan-Howard) £473,062 Director of Norfolk Estate Farms Ltd (which operates in Sussex). He said he he did not receive any financial benefit from the firm in 2017 and this had been the case ‘for many years’. He added: ‘For the last 10 years the main thrust of the farming operation has been to try and find a middle way between sustainable food production and reversing the decline in many red-listed species of birds, broad leaf weeds, wild flowers and insects which used to be plentiful on arable farmland.’
Richard Drax (MP for South Dorset) £411,201 He has the controlling ownership of ACF Co Holdings Ltd, the family firm. The family owns the 7,000-acre Charborough estate in Dorset. The payments are received by ‘ACF (DRAX FARM)’. He declined to comment. Last year, he told parliament: ‘Yes, I did vote for Brexit and yes, I am a turkey voting for Christmas because the subsidies that my farm receives will be considerably reduced, putting my business plan if not at risk then certainly into review. I do not object to that. I voted to leave the EU because I believe that that is best for our country. I believe that this is a wonderful opportunity.’
Viscount Ridley (Matt Ridley) £315,589 The large Blagdon estate in Northumberland has been owned by the Ridley family since 1700. Ridley is a director of Blagdon Farming Ltd and Plessey Checks Farming Ltd – payments are made to both those firms. Ridley said the officially published figures for the payments received by the two firms were ‘probably not badly wrong, though if anything they seem too high’. He added: ‘I have argued against subsidies for farming in general, even though this is against my personal interest in the short run, but that some allowance may need to be made for the way British farmers are restricted in how they can farm competitively because of environmental and other rules. I’ve argued that environmental payments should be by results, rather than intentions, and would welcome moves in that direction post-Brexit, as implied in the agriculture bill.’ He said that he did not take a salary or dividends from the company.
Lord Rotherwick (Herbert Robin Cayzer) £288,277 He owns the Cornbury Park estate in Oxfordshire. The payments go to Cornbury Park Farms. He says the correct figure for 2017-18 is £253,688. He said the estate did not run at a profit. ‘The farm employs five people and the estate not only comprises farmland but also Grade II parkland, an important historical SSSI forest and historical Grade I buildings. Any surplus from the farm goes to supporting the farmland environment, park and forest environment and buildings. Any diminution of the CAP would impact on the estate’s ability to maintain and renovate these historical areas.’
Richard Benyon (MP for Newbury) £278,180 Benyon is one of the wealthiest MPs. For years, his family has owned the large Englefield estate in Berkshire, much of which is farmland. He is the chairman of the Englefield estate and lives in Englefield House, the ancestral home. The payments were made to three entities: Englefield Estate Trust Corporation Ltd, Englefield Estate Forestry and Englefield Home Farms. He and the estate declined to comment. He was rural affairs minister between 2010 and 2013.
Lord Inglewood (Richard Inglewood) £276,915 Farms as the Inglewood Farm Partnership. He said: ‘While the details of its performance are private, the impact of very bad weather in this part of England and global milk prices have meant that taken over the last few years, like others in this part of England with comparable enterprises, I have lost money.’
Lord Cameron of Dillington (Ewen Cameron) £266,375 Director, and shareholding, in Dillington Farms. He said he was retired from the farm, but received a director’s salary/pension of just over £24,000. He said: ‘Well done for picking up on the absurdity that is the current system of agricultural support. Hopefully, very soon, we will have a system in place that only rewards services to the wider public.’
Philip Dunne (MP for Ludlow) £231,638 In the House of Commons register of financial interests, he declares that he is a partner in a farming partnership, Gatley Farms. He told parliament during the committee stage of the agriculture bill: ‘I should declare that I am a livestock farmer and am in receipt of single farm payment.’ He did not respond when approached by the Guardian.
Lord Agnew of Oulton (Theodore Agnew) £211,794 In the House of Lords register of financial interests, he declares that he and his wife own a farm in Norfolk in a partnership and he has a financial interest in a farm in Suffolk. Payments were made to Winterton Farming Ltd, of which he was a director until October 2017. He owned this firm through another firm, Winterton Capital Ltd, until November 2017. He became a junior education minister in September 2017. He did not comment.
Lord Waldegrave of North Hill (WIlliam Waldegrave) £200,374 Director and shareholder of Waldegrave Farms Ltd, tenant of an organic dairy farm. He says the farm has not in recent years made enough money to pay him or his wife anything in dividends or salaries. He says the subsidy maintains ‘the employment of those who work on the farm’ and the carrying out of ‘the environmental and organic requirements we have signed up to’.
Lord Cavendish of Furness (Hugh Cavendish) £197,433 Shareholding in Vitagrass Farms (Holker) Ltd. He said he had received no income from Vitagrass Farms in any form in 2017.
Earl Peel (Willie Peel) £185,813 Shareholding in Grinton Estate (the payments are made to The Earl Peel, Earl Peel & Grinton Gait Holders, and Earl Peel & Whitaside Gait Holders). He did not say whether he derived financial benefit from it in 2017.
Earl of Stair (John Dalrymple) £174,390 Director of Balker Farms Ltd. He declined to say how much income he received in 2017 from the farm, which he said supported the employment of four people.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach (John Taylor) £158,600 Chief whip for the Conservative party in the House of Lords. Shareholding in a firm, O A Taylor and Sons, which grows cereals, crops and vegetables. He did not say whether he derived an income from this firm in 2017. He added that he had ‘disclosed everything in accordance with the requirement of the Lords code and ministerial code’ and had no further comment to add. He was a junior agriculture minister in 2011-2012.
Lord Ryder of Wensum (Richard Ryder) £157,665 Director of, and shareholding in, Great Bradley Farms Company, and director of Navigator Land LLP. The former received £112,950 and the latter £44,715. He said: ‘I am afraid that I don’t comment on the details of my financial arrangements.’
Earl of Home (David Douglas-Home) £132,377 Director of, and shareholding in, Douglas & Angus Estates. The estates’ agent said: ‘The payments received are for the benefit the company, rather than Lord Home personally.’
Lord Bamford (Anthony Bamford) £123,894 A spokesman said: ‘As a director of Daylesford Organic Farms Ltd, Lord Bamford has never derived any financial benefit or dividend from this agricultural enterprise.’ Daylesford is a subsidiary of the JCB digger firm of which he is chairman.
Lord Willoughby de Broke (Leopold David Verney) £107,548 He has an arable and grass farm in Moreton-in-Marsh, Warwickshire and received payments under his own name (‘Willoughby de Broke, Lord’). He said that between April 2016 and March 2017, he received payments amounting to £86,135. He declined to say what income he received from Ditchford Farm saying that it was ‘between me and the Inland Revenue’.
Lord Palmer (Adrian Palmer) £105,045 Shareholding in Manderston Farms. He declined to say how much income he derived from the farm in 2017.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (MP for the Cotswolds) £102,567 In the House of Commons register of financial interests, he declares that he is a ‘partner in East Beckham partnership, engaged in arable farming in Norfolk’ and owns agricultural holdings in Norfolk. He declared that in the year to 30 September 2017, he drew £21,200.81 from the partnership for working 230 hours. He declined to comment.
Lord Vaux of Harrowden (Richard Gilbey) £101,416 Owner of Rusko Farm. He believes the subsidy for 2017 was £72,881, lower than the figure given in the official CAP database. He suggests that payments for previous years could have been delayed and paid in 2017, accounting for the higher figure. He said the farm made a marginal profit most years and in 2017 he drew no income from it.
Colin Clark (MP for Gordon) £98,389 Describes himself as a practising farmer who has been ‘involved in farming for donkey’s years’. He owns farmland in Aberdeenshire and is a partner in Thomastown Farm and Cottages (which trades as R&M Clark). The payments are received by R&M Clark. Approached by the Guardian, he said: ‘This is a matter of public record. I have repeatedly in the chamber, Westminster Hall, and on the agriculture bill committee drawn attention to the fact that I am a recipient.’
Duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesley) £90,967 He declares that he is a partner in a family farming business in Hampshire. Stratfield Saye House in Hampshire has been owned by the Dukes of Wellington since 1817. The family estate covers 7,000 acres of parkland, woodland and farming. According to the EU database, Stratfield Saye Farms received £90,967 in 2017. The estate said it did not recognise this figure. It did not say what it believed the correct figure to be when asked. A spokesman for the estate said: ‘None of the partners in the farming business receive financial benefits or dividends, as any surplus, when it arises, is reinvested in the business … Payments received by livestock farms in general only partially cover the costs of farming to the high environmental and animal welfare standards expected in this country.’
Earl of Dundee (Alexander Scrymgeour) £87,029 Director of Dundee Farming Company. He said the company paid him a director’s salary of £10,500 in 2017. He added that the salary was not specific to the farming element of the company which also carries out other commercial activities which he oversees.
Alister Jack (MP for Dumfries and Galloway) £83,553 On his website, he says he ‘farms (dairy) near Dumfries’. In the House of Commons register of financial interests, he declares that he owns agricultural land in Dumfries and Galloway and has a shareholding in Courance Farms. Courance Farms receives subsidies of £83,553 from the EU. His aide said he did not wish to comment, when approached by the Guardian.
Lord Haskins (Christopher Haskins) £81,649 Director of, and shareholding in, Quarryside Farms Ltd. He said he was a director of the firm but had passed his shares to his son.
Peter Aldous (MP for Waveney) £79,032 In the House of Commons register of financial interests, he declares that he is a partner in a family farm in Halesworth, Suffolk and has an interest in a farm near Ipswich. He told the Guardian that he had a shareholding in two entities which received common agricultural policy payments (under the titles of Aldous, J & D S & E and JW, TC & E Aldous). On his website, he says that before entering parliament, he helped look after the family pig and arable farm outside Halesworth.
Lord Kirkham (Graham Kirkham) £77,523 Shareholding in farmland in South Yorkshire (LGK Farms LLP). He said that the accounts for LGK Farms for 2017 showed a loss.
Earl of Sandwich (John Montagu) £72,350 Life tenant of Mapperton estate (his ancestral seat). He says he derives no personal benefit from the subsidies, adding: ‘Small agricultural estates and especially hill farms require this support because of the high maintenance and capital costs and every penny goes into these farms.’
Lady Byford (Hazel Byford) £70,457 She said: ‘My unrenumerated directorship of Donald Byford Ltd is disclosed in the registry of Lords’ interests which is a matter of public record.’ She described the firm as a family farming company. The payments are received by Donald Byford Ltd.
Earl of Lindsay (James Lindesay-Bethune) £60,316 Shareholding in Kilconquhar Farms. He did not say what financial income he received from the farm in 2017. He said: ‘I have disclosed my farming and other interests in accordance with the requirements of the House of Lords code and have no further comment to add.’
Lord Curry of Kirkharle (Donald Curry) £52,165 Partner in DTY Curry, Middle Farm in Northumberland. He said he had a share agreement with two others who had managed the farm for a decade. He added that he was giving up the tenancy of the farm at the end of 2018.
Lord Gardiner of Kimble (John Gardiner) £49,358 Junior minister in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Partner in family farming partnership, CM Robarts & Son.
Viscount Brookeborough (Alan Brooke) £38,585 Self-employed farmer. The payments are made to ‘Rt Hon Viscount Brookeborough’. He said that, according to his calculations, he received £37,766 in 2017.
Lord Colgrain (Alastair Campbell) £37,280 Partner in Campbell Brothers, a farming partnership in Kent. He declined to say whether he derived financial benefit from it in 2017.
Lord Boswell of Aynho (Tim Boswell) £35,655 He is a partner with his wife in a farm at Lower Aynho Grounds, Banbury, Oxfordshire. The payments are made to ‘M/S EN & TE Boswell’. He said that the payments did not relate precisely to a specific year as the totals could later be changed. He added that, for that same reason, he could not give a precise figure for the personal income he received from the family farm in 2017. He was a junior minister in the agriculture ministry in the 1990s.
Lord Berkeley of Knighton (Michael Berkeley) £33,629 He said he was a partner in a hill farm in Wales with a family. He said he had never received any income from the farm nor taken a dividend. ‘Without the subsidy, we would not break even so the money goes to support the necessary investment in machinery etc … I have always been happy to feel that we are looking after the land and that the farm is supporting a local family.’ The payments are made to ‘Messrs Morgan and Berkeley’ and ‘Morgan & Berkeley’.
Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe (Robert Walker) £33,602 Shareholding in Gestingthorpe Farming Company Ltd, an arable farm. He says he has not taken a dividend payment from the farm since it started in 1995 until last year when he received £4,500. He said he has put in hundreds of hours of unpaid labour in hedging and ditching, planting new hedges and establishing a new seven-hectare wood.
Julian Sturdy (MP for York Outer) £24,838 He says that before he was elected to parliament in 2010, he was a working farmer in York. In the House of Commons register of financial interests, he declares that he is a partner in G E Sturdy and Son, a farming partnership in Wetherby. He added that he provided ‘administrative support for the partnership, as well as doing some buying and selling at certain times’ and received £500 a month for no more than four hours a week. Published records show that G E Sturdy & Son in Wetherby received £24,838 in 2017. He declined to comment when approached by the Guardian.
Antoinette Sandbach (MP for Eddisbury) £23,588 She has said she comes from a strong farming background. In the House of Commons register of financial interests, she declares that she has a shareholding in Hafodunos Farms Ltd (which she describes as agriculture forestry property management). Companies House records show that she (under her married name) has significant control of Hafodunos Farms Ltd as she owns more than 75% of the firm’s shares. Published records show that Hafodunos Farms Ltd received £23,588 in 2017. She declined to comment on the payments or what income she derived from the firm in 2017.
Robert Goodwill (MP for Scarborough and Whitby) £20,212 Sole trader of Southwood Farm, Terrington, York, which he says is a “family farm of 250 acres, which we have farmed since 1850”. He receives the payments as RW Goodwill. He said: ‘I did not draw down any money from the farm business so there was no financial benefit as such other than the occupation of the farm house in [2017].’
Lady Masham of Ilton (Susan Cunliffe-Lister) £15,313 She says she farms Badger Farm in Yorkshire, which is just under 200 acres. She did not say what financial income she received from the farm in 2017.
Mark Spencer (MP for Sherwood) £13,966 He is a partner in a Nottinghamshire farm which operates as CH Spencer and Son. In the House of Commons register of financial interests, he says he receives ‘benefit in kind from the farm of £5-10,000 per annum in the form of payment of telephone, heating and council tax of my family home’ and performs ‘a maximum of 80-100 hours per year of otherwise unremunerated work on the farm’.
Lord De Mauley (Rupert De Mauley) £11,733 Junior minister in Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs between 2012 and 2015. He owns farmland in Gloucestershire. The payments are made to ‘Lord De Mauley’.
Lady Mallalieu (Ann Mallalieu) £5,636 Payments made to ‘Baroness A Mallalieu’. She said: ‘In common with most small-scale Exmoor sheep farmers like myself it is hard to make a profit, even with the single farm payment. I nonetheless, in common with well over 60% of my neighbours in West Somerset, support Brexit.’
Glyn Davies (MP for Montgomeryshire) £4,797 Describes himself as a self-employed farmer, receiving the payments as G Davies. He declined to say whether he derived financial benefit from farming in 2017 but did not dispute the official record of the payments.
Earl of Kinnoull (Charles Hay) Undisclosed He is one of the few parliamentarians who declares in the official register of financial interests that he owns farmland which receives a subsidy under the EU common agricultural policy scheme. He declined to say what the name of the farm was so it was not possible to see what subsidy was received. He is in an organic farming partnership in Perthshire. He said the farm was ‘pretty small’.
Lord Grantchester (Christopher Suenson-Taylor) Undisclosed He is also one of the few parliamentarians who declares in the official register of financial interests that he has a shareholding in farmland which receives a subsidy under the EU common agricultural payments scheme (a dairy farm in Cheshire). He did not respond to a request to confirm the name of the farm, the amount of subsidy it received in 2017, or what financial benefit he derived from the farm in 2017.
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