Queen Elizabeth and Saudi Prince have been named in a list of wealthy UK landowners who receive hundreds of thousands of pounds in taxpayer-funded EU subsidies.
Taxpayers are paying more than £400,000 a year to subsidise a farm in Newmarket where billionaire Saudi prince Khalid Abdullah al Saud breeds racehorses. The Queen receives £557,706 a year.
An investigation by Greenpeace found that at least one in five of the top 100 recipients of CAP subsidies were farms owned or controlled by members of wealthy aristocratic families.
The top beneficiaries of farm grants from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) include estates owned partly or wholly by the Queen Elizabeth II (£557,706.52); Lord Iveagh (£915,709.97); the Duke of Westminster (£427,433.96), the Duke of Northumberland (£475,030.70 ) the Mormons (£785,058.94) .
RT reports: CAP was introduced in 1962 in a bid to stimulate European agricultural production. It continues to be one of the EU’s largest expenditures, constituting 39 percent of the budget in 2013.
Greenpeace are campaigning for CAP to be reformed, saying it is an “outrage” subsidies are given to wealthy persons like Khalid Abdullah al Saud, who owns the prize-winning thoroughbred racehorse, Frankel, said to be worth over £100 million.
“The subsidy system is utterly broken. We need public money spent on farming to be offering demonstrable public benefits,” Greenpeace chief scientist Doug Parr told BBC News.
Aberdeenshire farmer Frank Smart receives the most CAP subsidies in the UK, taking in nearly £3 million in grants for his business, Frank A Smart & Son Ltd.
Asked if the Queen thought it appropriate to receive taxpayers’ subsidy based on the size of her land holding a spokesman for the Palace told BBC news: “Subsidies are open to all farmers, and are received on the Queen’s private estate. We would not comment beyond the detail that is already in the public domain.”
A spokesman for the Duke of Westminster also declined the question, but said the farm produced quality food while taking the environment very seriously.