Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum
cashinmattress

Wealthy Minister Earns £2M Subsidies In Eu Farm Subsidies

Recommended Posts

Link

The family of a Government Minister whose department has covered up details of who receives EU farm subsidies has earned £2 million from the same payouts.

Richard Benyon is one of the richest MPs in Parliament. The great-great-grandson of three-times Tory Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, he can trace his ancestry back to William Cecil, the chief political adviser to Elizabeth I.

Tory MP Mr Benyon, the Environment and Fisheries Minister, has received income from a family trust which owns a 20,000-acre estate worth £125 million.

Rich heritage: MP Richard Benyon, with wife Zoe and son Louis, has earned £2m in EU farm subsidies

Rich heritage: MP Richard Benyon, with wife Zoe and son Louis, has earned £2m in EU farm subsidies

The Englefield Trust, which owns the land on the Berkshire-Hampshire border, was paid more than £2 million through the controversial Common Agricultural Policy farming grants from 1999 to 2009.

In 2009 alone the family farms were paid nearly £200,000, placing them in the top one per cent of beneficiaries of the EU scheme.

Farming Minister Jim Paice has also received several thousands of pounds in EU subsidies for his farm in Cambridgeshire over the same ten-year period.

Mr Benyon was appointed a Minister at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) last May. Some time after November the department decided to block all information about how much farmers had earned from subsidies. More than 100,000 British farmers were paid the majority of the £3 billion available in EU farming subsidies for last year.

Ministers argue that they are following advice from Brussels, but freedom of information campaigners claim they have deliberately taken draconian steps to protect rich farmers from public scrutiny.

Labour MP Paul Flynn said that Mr Benyon’s position was unjustifiable. ‘This is wrong in so many ways. How can Ministers benefit from EU payments while at the same time introduce an information-denial policy?’

Mr Benyon, 50, a former officer with the Royal Green Jackets, is the son of Sir William Benyon, himself a former Tory MP. Mr Benyon shares the family seat, Englefield House, with his father and his own wife, Zoe, 40, their two sons and three more sons from a previous marriage.

Englefield House is in a private walled estate of 20,000 acres that includes thriving farmland, woodland and a model village. It was built during the reign of Elizabeth I, who granted the manor of Englefield

to her ‘spymaster’, Sir Francis Walsingham. The house came into the Benyon family’s possession in the early 19th Century. The gardens are open all year but the house is open only to pre-booked group tours.

The Benyons also have land and property interests in London and Scotland. Mr Benyon, MP for Newbury since 2005, owns a £1.5 million house near Westminster.

According to farmsubsidy.org, a freedom of information campaign group which continues to publish the list of EU subsidy recipients in the face of the Government blackout, the Benyon estates received more than £2 million in aid between 1999 and 2009.

Mr Benyon has declared his family business in the Commons register of interests. But under the information blackout, it is not possible to know how much his family estates received last year from the EU.

Mr Benyon resigned his chairmanship of the family business, Englefield Estate Trust Corporation Limited, when he became a Minister last year. In the members’ register he says he remains ‘the trustee of various family trusts in all of which either I or members of my wider family have beneficial interests’.

After the department for which he is a Minister decided to grant anonymity to all farmers who receive EU farming subsidies, a Defra spokesman said that it was not possible to reveal details of any individual farmers because this would breach their privacy. All details identifying large industrial farming concerns and individual farmers have been removed from Government websites. Ministers say this follows a directive from Brussels which requires all EU member states to comply with a judgment from the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Plans for the publication of a list of the individuals who have benefited from the EU subsidy last year, which was due to be released at the end of April, have now been halted.

This would have included millions of pounds paid to scores of wealthy landowners including the Queen, Prince Charles and the Benyons.

Freedom of information cam-paigners argue that the Government has over-reacted to the ruling because the judgment bans the identification of private individuals but not the naming of industrial farming enterprises, which include large agricultural concerns such as the Englefield Estate.

EUtransparency.org said that there were dozens of public figures who are in receipt of public funds who should be identified in the public interest.

One of its directors, Jack Thurston, said: ‘The Common Agricultural Policy is a system of state subsidies to farm businesses . . . there is no relationship between the eligibility for a farm subsidy and the recipient’s personal or private life.

‘Unlike some means-tested social welfare payments, there is no shame or social stigma associated with receiving a farm subsidy.’

The decision represents a reversal of an important freedom of information victory in 2005 when the Government was ordered to release the names and payouts of all those benefiting from the subsidies.

Two German farmers took their case to the European Court of Justice last year, arguing that their personal rights had been infringed by the publication of their names on a German government website.

‘On his appointment, the Minister made the Permanent Secretary aware of all his interests and the Permanent Secretary is happy there is no conflict of interest in the present circumstances and that the requirements of the Ministerial Code are being met.'

But the EU Commission has confirmed that not all member states followed the same approach to identification as the UK.

At the end of November 2010, member states were asked to stop publication of data concerning private individuals but crucially to keep on publishing data related to companies.

A Defra spokesman said: ‘Richard Benyon does not receive any single-farm payments. He ceased to be a partner in the family farming business, Englefield Home Farms, prior to becoming a Minister.

‘On his appointment, the Minister made the Permanent Secretary aware of all his interests and the Permanent Secretary is happy there is no conflict of interest in the present circumstances and that

the requirements of the Ministerial Code are being met.

‘All Defra Ministers’ interests, including any CAP-related payments, are declared appropriately to the Permanent Secretary and reported in the usual way.

‘Jim Paice, as the Minister responsible for administering the Single Payment Scheme, has decided not to activate any of his entitlements under this scheme for the duration of his appointment.

He received a payment of £652 from a claim submitted prior to taking up his Ministerial appointment.’

People like this should learn to stay out of street level politics, and who exactly vote for a member of parliament who's so obviously out of touch with the voting public? Perhaps a parliamentary accord should punt any MP who has X amount of holdings, as they will have no interest in upholding the 'constitution'.

Surely we are almost back to the good old days.

Bah. This is Britain, same as it ever was.

Edited by cashinmattress

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People like this should learn to stay out of street level politics, and who exactly vote for a member of parliament who's so obviously out of touch with the voting public? Perhaps a parliamentary accord should punt any MP who has X amount of holdings, as they will have no interest in upholding the 'constitution'.

Surely we are almost back to the good old days.

Bah. This is Britain, same as it ever was.

can't say I'm surprised with a cabinet stuffed full of old etonians ....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People like this should learn to stay out of street level politics, and who exactly vote for a member of parliament who's so obviously out of touch with the voting public? Perhaps a parliamentary accord should punt any MP who has X amount of holdings, as they will have no interest in upholding the 'constitution'.

Surely we are almost back to the good old days.

Bah. This is Britain, same as it ever was.

For the 16th? year in a row hired accountants refused to sign off the EU accounts due to corruption, unaccountable missing millions and fraud in central office dealing out the dosh for non-jobs, 'special' EU multi-million non-projects' etc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People like this should learn to stay out of street level politics, and who exactly vote for a member of parliament who's so obviously out of touch with the voting public? Perhaps a parliamentary accord should punt any MP who has X amount of holdings, as they will have no interest in upholding the 'constitution'.

Surely we are almost back to the good old days.

Bah. This is Britain, same as it ever was.

Yet the point remains that many farmers are unhappy about the details that are published. My own family run a farm and whilst the money recieved from these policies are nowhere near as grand, the fact remains that this money is the only thing keeping their farm (and many thousands of others) in business.

In effect these subsidies are funding the profits of the big supermarkets and food processors as they are taking advantage of the fact that these subsidies are keeping farms running and they can continue to exploit them by buying food from them for less that the cost of production and keeping any profit margins to themselves.

The role of the NFU and others needs to be looked at in great detail as they are apparently too weak to do anything about it and support farmers against the might of the major supermarkets and their buying stragegies. After all where else are they proposing to buy the food from when the subsidies are stopped and the price of fuel makes imports prohibative - food prices will rise a great deal over the long term. If farmers were at least paid a decent price and the supermarkets took a hit in their margins the public would not need to pay any more and maybe some of those in the industry would have the cash to invest in their farms - right now this is not happening and is will lead to more pressure for Nocton style dairies which are the only way to cut costs enough to make money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the 16th? year in a row hired accountants refused to sign off the EU accounts due to corruption, unaccountable missing millions and fraud in central office dealing out the dosh for non-jobs, 'special' EU multi-million non-projects' etc

I'm amazed no one has taken the EU to court over this. It's a complete farce.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Person who owns a farm gets subsidies shocker!

What do you expect? And why shouldn't he be in parliament, it's a right everyone has. I'm in favour of rich people sitting in parliament, I'd rather have a load of successful people in there who don't feel the need to steal off the tax payer like those labour jail birds.

However, this chap has inherited wealth, but just because he’s in parliament, he shouldn’t receive the same benefits as other farmers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People like this should learn to stay out of street level politics, and who exactly vote for a member of parliament who's so obviously out of touch with the voting public? Perhaps a parliamentary accord should punt any MP who has X amount of holdings, as they will have no interest in upholding the 'constitution'.

Surely we are almost back to the good old days.

Bah. This is Britain, same as it ever was.

...do you have the link for the quote.....?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He's my MP and I'm pretty impressed with his voting record in parliament so far. Our old LibDem MP, David Rendel, was a good guy too.

Benyon also came out squeaky clean in the expenses scandal, though I guess he is rich enough not to have to claim for bath plugs and stuff.

Was this secrecy introduced since he became a minister?

The EU subsidies scandal has run for decades. I really don't know what will make people rise up and do something about such things, even the Irish haven't rebelled yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This story looks like sensationalism, I'm all for revealing corruption but when you go into the details of this it mentions the farm land is over almost 20,000 acres. That's a huge farm, I mean that's like 10 normal sized farms.

If this story was about some random farmer receiving 20,000 pounds / year for his 2,000 acre farm would anyone care?

Besides as lulu said these farms need subsidies just to turn a profit as without the subsidies it would be cheaper for supermarkets to import from abroad. I think it's a matter of national security that we have locally grown food in case of international instability.

happy_renting said Benyon didn't claim parliamentary expenses so I doubt he's trying to milk the system, pun intended ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the 16th? year in a row hired accountants refused to sign off the EU accounts due to corruption, unaccountable missing millions and fraud in central office dealing out the dosh for non-jobs, 'special' EU multi-million non-projects' etc

Its surprising that this is not mentioned more often. If any company in the UK organized it's finances along the same lines as the EU, the directors would be in Jail.

In addition, the MEP's expenses system seems to have been designed to promote corruption.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Besides as lulu said these farms need subsidies just to turn a profit as without the subsidies it would be cheaper for supermarkets to import from abroad. I think it's a matter of national security that we have locally grown food in case of international instability.

Do they get the subsidy for producing? Or is it for not-producing?

I think the story is silly - if it's within rules - although if there's some hint they've tried to hide it then that's not good.

Did someone say Mandy was on BBC on Sunday? If they've got him out it's cos they're desperate for doing some sh*t stirring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do they get the subsidy for producing? Or is it for not-producing?

Niether; it's just for the area of land.

I think the story is silly - if it's within rules - although if there's some hint they've tried to hide it then that's not good.

It's not a hint that they've tried to hide it; it's a clear statement of fact. The current government have stopped publishing the list of recipients for payments made by the Rural Payments Agency.

Edited by CrashConnoisseur

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a far, far bigger scandal here which remains largely unreported...

BBC Radio 4: Transcript of File On 4 -- 'IT' [Tuesday 2nd March 2010]:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/02_03_10_fo4_ict.pdf

NORTHAM: Fire fighters aren’t the only people waiting for a computer system to do what it’s promised. 107,000 English farmers are supposed to receive subsidy payments under the reformed Common Agricultural Policy, with the amount determined by the acreage of land they work. For those struggling to make even a subsistence living, the thousands of pounds they qualify for can make the difference between survival and bankruptcy. It doesn’t sound like much of a problem to get their payments right, but the Government body responsible, the Rural Payments Agency, RPA, is rarely mentioned now without the adjective ‘beleaguered’. For five years, widely publicised problems with its computer system have led farmers to despair. And their troubles are far from over.

[...snip...]

DUNN: The Government chose the most complex system.

[...snip...]

NORTHAM: The result has been a catastrophe. Payments cost around £1,700 each to process in England, while in Scotland, where they chose a much simpler system, the cost is one-sixth of that. The budget of the IT system has gone from £53.8 million to £350 million. Three times the Commons Public Accounts Committee has looked into rural payments, and three times it’s concluded that the system has failed woefully. The Committee’s chairman, Edward Leigh, makes no attempt to mask his displeasure.

LEIGH: Oh, this is one of the worst ****-ups, administrative disasters that we’ve encountered in Government for many years. I mean, the figures are staggering. We’ve had to pay a fine to the European Commission for our gross inefficiency of £280 million. We’ve spent £304 million on additional staff costs. In total we’ve wasted on this Rural Payments Agency a staggering £622 million. Now I know that these figures may seem very little, may seem difficult to understand, because we always talk in politics in millions and billions. There are only 100,000 farmers. It would be frankly easier just to write a cheque for £10,000 or £20,000 for each person rather than employ hundreds of people, waste £600 million. And the worst thing is that the farmers suffer and it’s tragic. I mean, some farmers have actually committed suicide because, you know, they’ve been given and then abruptly they’ve been told it’s an overpayment, the money has been demanded back. By the way this IT system alone cost £350 million. You couldn’t believe that you could spend £350 million on an IT system to pay 100,000 farmers. It beggars good sense. What we said, it may be better to scrap the whole lot, scrap the existing system, scrap the IT project, get a new IT system and start all over again. I mean, it may be that if you’re in a hole, stop digging.

NORTHAM: One aspect of the scheme is particularly galling for Edward Leigh - the payments made to IT staff from the scheme’s contractor, Accenture. It’s officially recorded that one hundred of the company’s experts are employed at taxpayers’ expense at an average salary of £200,000 a year each. [.....]

My bold

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a far, far bigger scandal here which remains largely unreported...

Not exactly unreported, is it? EDS and Accenture have been by-words for big IT cockups for as long as I can remember. Well, in Accenture's case only since it changed its name, but that's hair-splitting. By comparison with EDS or Accenture, the likes of IBM or Oracle are brilliantly competent, and the likes of Logica or CapGemini are small-fry, even when there's a cockup.

What the journalists ought to dig into is the government procurement process. In the story you reported it's clearly rotten to the core (well, NuLab were blatently the most corrupt government in memory), but it's still short on specific detail that could stand up in a court.

[edit - bugger that censorware]

Edited by porca misèria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Person who owns a farm gets subsidies shocker!

What do you expect? And why shouldn't he be in parliament, it's a right everyone has. I'm in favour of rich people sitting in parliament, I'd rather have a load of successful people in there who don't feel the need to steal off the tax payer like those labour jail birds.

However, this chap has inherited wealth, but just because he’s in parliament, he shouldn’t receive the same benefits as other farmers?

Where do you think the £2m in farm subsidies came from if not the taxpayer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where do you think the £2m in farm subsidies came from if not the taxpayer?

U troll.

He's getting his money in exactly the same way as thousands of farmers across the eu, which is funded from eu countries who are funded by the tax payer. The point is that he's doing it all above board and isn't stealing from the tax payer by deliberately defrauding them like the labour mps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do they get the subsidy for producing? Or is it for not-producing?

I think the story is silly - if it's within rules - although if there's some hint they've tried to hide it then that's not good.

Did someone say Mandy was on BBC on Sunday? If they've got him out it's cos they're desperate for doing some sh*t stirring.

They get thousands of different subsidies.

Fancy new concrete farmyard tractor shed/Barn/Milking shed - just a few forms away.

Couple of the biggest taxpayer rip-offs was landowners being paid for ripping up thousand yr old hedgerows destroying centuries of development and habitats.

They now got paid again to replant them trying to 'recreate' them and stop top soil erosion!

Being paid full whack subsidies for designating previously useless land (like bog/heathland) as 'set aside' 'conservation' areas - frickin Con merchants!

All taxpayers are stung hard for these cons.

The whole point of the original subsidies was to help smallish vinegrowers/market garden/hill farmers (not subsidise 100,000 acre + super ltd companies) & keep prices of basic food down (I have seen NO evidence of that) not pay for the upkeep of unproductive, non-cultivation, useless land either.

Edited by erranta

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Britain: A nation of thieves, cutpurses and blaggards in Dicken's day and Banksters, troughers and spivs today.

Nothing changes around here. What a vile state we have allowed this nation to fall into.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a far, far bigger scandal here which remains largely unreported...

BBC Radio 4: Transcript of File On 4 -- 'IT' [Tuesday 2nd March 2010]:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/02_03_10_fo4_ict.pdf

My bold

IT systems that cost 100s of millions are always a scam on the taxpayer. As an IT guy myself I know most kinds of implementations should be able to be done for a lot less.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What do you expect? And why shouldn't he be in parliament, it's a right everyone has. I'm in favour of rich people sitting in parliament, I'd rather have a load of successful people in there who don't feel the need to steal off the tax payer like those labour jail birds.

It is usually the rich people who steal the most, especially those with inherited wealth, they need to keep up the lifestyle they are used to, even though they are generally useless as making money honestly...

However, this chap has inherited wealth, but just because he's inparliament, he shouldn't receive the same benefits as other farmers?

Benefits for common people are means tested, why shouldn't the benefits for toffs be means tested too?

Edited by wise_eagle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.