Everyone’s heard about farming subsidies and most people know they provide a huge amount of funding in our region. But it’s not just farmers who receive this EU cash. Luke Catchpole spoke to one beneficiary who receives a subsidy to look after some of Richmond’s most-loved public spaces.
Jacqui Singleton-Turner is the land manager for the Richmond Landscape Trust, the community land charity that looks after spaces such as the pastures at Westfields, the nine acre field (OS9100), Jack King’s Wood, South Bank near the Station Bridge and Sleegill.
She explained how the Trust received funding for land maintenance via these subsidies.
“The Basic Payment Scheme is paid to farmers and is calculated per hectare (acre) on the basis of the amount of land you own. The hectares are then translated into entitlements and you receive a fixed amount per entitlement.”
This formula has led to the Trust receiving E 31,668.07 of assistance since 1999 for activity such as rebuilding stone walls, planting hedgerows, and producing wild flower meadows.
And they are not alone. Along with many other bodies and businesses not primarily about farming, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has also been receiving subsidies through the scheme.
That Authority is an independent body tasked with “conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Park” plus “promoting opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the area by the public.”
It has received E 19,926.69 since 1999 for its work.
So what would an exit for the EU mean for these organisations?
Mrs Singleton-Turner raised concerns that there could be a lack of ring-fenced cash made available in the future if the UK left the EU.
“From a farming point of view membership of the EU is clearly beneficial. There would appear to be no contingency plans for UK farming subsidies in the event of leaving. Instead of being ring fenced, agriculture would have to take its chances alongside health, education etc. The outlook does not seem promising.”
* You can browse and search the data of all recipients of EU farming subsidies here at FarmSubsidy.org, a project of Journalismfund.eu, a non-profit organisation, and powered byOpenSpending of Open Knowledge.