Archive for the 'subsidies' Category

Dunno know why, but let’s chuck some more money at it…

According to a survey by the European Commission published last week, about 70% of Brits want farmers to get more subsidies over the next decade.

It’s a figure that’ll make lots of farmers in the UK feel pretty cheery. After all, that obviously means the public recognises the help the Common Agricultural Policy and subsidies give in allowing farmers produce food whilst keeping our countryside green and purdy, like this, right?


Errrm… yeah.

The same survey reveals that while the majority of people want to up direct support, most of them (61%) have never heard of CAP and the subsidy system. A further quarter say they’ve heard CAP being mentioned, but they know as much about it as Victoria Beckham knows about particle physics.

I haven’t got the space on here to go through each question, but in a nutshell, these people who know nothing of farm subsidies want to see those very subsidies increased so farmers can do more environmental stuff. They don’t know what this environmental stuff is, but it should probably involve climate change in some way. Oh yeah, and they want farmers to be paid more for the food they produce while they’re at it. Whilst food prices remain reasonable. And the EU’s spending on agriculture stays around about the same level.

To me, this is kind of endemic of the whole subsidy system. Does anyone really know whether farmers are being paid to carry on producing food, to maintain the countryside and manage the environment, or to keep them afloat so their presence maintains rural communities? Is it all three? If payments were solely and directly linked to environmental management, then I’d perhaps have less issues with them, but I don’t think the current system can satisfy the myriad of demands the public seems to have on politicians, Europe, and farmers themselves.

Having not offered any solutions, I’m sure I haven’t furthered my subsidy argument against the pro-payment people of this world.  With my ‘socialist views’ maybe it’s a good job I won’t be sat around the table once the CAP shake-up discussions get going. Then again, if I had to come up with something that answered all of the demands out there, I’m glad I won’t be.

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