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Europe’s richest farmers face subsidy cut


21st November, 2007

Subsidy payments to Europe’s wealthiest farmers are set to be cut under plans unveiled by EU officials yesterday.

Aid organisations have long argued against the £30 billion subsidy payments paid annually to European farmers, saying it is support farmers in third world countries do not receive.

While refusing to completely scrap subsidy payments, the EU has now agreed to limit the amount it pays out to farmers.

Anyone who received annual payments above £70,000 will see them reduced by 15 per cent, those over £150,000 will be cut by 25 per cent and the largest subsidies over £200,000 will be cut by up to 45 per cent.

The EU has not revealed how much savings the cuts will bring but British farmers are expected to be £56 million worse off while farmers in Germany, where there are many bigger collectivised farms are likely to lose more than £150 million.

The National Farmers Union, which represents many large farm owners in England likely to be affected by the cuts, said farmers would probably be able to avoid the cuts.

“The suggestion of scaling back larger single farm payments, however seductive, is also misguided,” said NFU president Peter Kendall. “Farmers would be bound to try to adjust their businesses in order to avoid its impact,” he added.

The EU claimed on Tuesday that would transfer some of the money saved into fighting climate change and investing in biofuels and bio energy projects. However, it has not yet committed itself to an amount.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist November 2007


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