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August 06, 2007

Independent Watch

Johann Hari:

The British beef export market brings in £700,000 a year, and employs fewer than 40,000 people.

Christ: I'd heard that rural wages were low, but £17.50 p.a.?

To be fair to him, he does have a point about the gross rural subsidies: but then again, that's nothing to do with the UK polity, that all comes from Brussels.

The capital needs a mayor like Ken who champions a city-wide living wage - but Boris has opposed even the minimum wage.

So, err, why is putting people out of work a good idea? Opposition to both the minimum wage and living wages is entirely sensible.

Far from going to small farmers, most of our subsidies go to vast agribusinesses and millionaires: Tate and Lyle has received over £233m in subsidy in two years...

Tsk, tsk. Tate and Lyle's subsidies are export subsidies. You see, we insist (as a result of the sugar price support system) that those importing cane sugar from abroad pay a high duty. Once refined and repackaged for export, this tax is paid back as a subsidy. Get rid of the EU and we'll not be paying that subsidy, because we won't be imposing the import duties in the first place. Good idea, eh?

August 6, 2007 in Telegraph Watch. | Permalink


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Taxes are a necessary evil, but subsidies are far worse, they introduce massive distortions and have to be paid for by raisign taxes somewhere else.

Golden rule "Susidies do not make things cheaper they make them more expensive".

Posted by: Mark Wadsworth | Aug 6, 2007 10:43:56 AM

Get rid of the EU! what an excellent idea.

ps. don't forget the Pro Referendum Rally on October 27th.

Posted by: Tom Johnson | Aug 6, 2007 11:58:11 AM

The £700,000 is a bit out, that should probably be £700,000,000.

Posted by: Mark Wadsworth | Aug 6, 2007 12:34:34 PM

Far from going to small farmers, most of our subsidies go to vast agribusinesses and millionaires

He's right about that bit, since the 'reforms' of the CAP the money goes to the landowners (who are not necessarily the farmers) as a payment in proportion to the amount of land they own, plus some environmental handouts. Therefore the people with the largest amounts of assets (typically vast agribusinesses and millionaires) get the largest amounts of subsidy. One of the reasons why lefties should not support the EU anymore than most righties do.

Still the fault of the EU though, and because it is the fault of the EU we cannot change it.

Posted by: chris | Aug 6, 2007 5:41:03 PM

"since the 'reforms' of the CAP the money goes to the landowners (who are not necessarily the farmers)": bugger the reforms - in the long term the incidence of ag subsidies will always be on the landowners since they possess the least elastic factor of production.

Posted by: dearieme | Aug 6, 2007 10:06:29 PM

Dearieme, average CAP subsidies = £70 per acre; average rent paid by the most hard-pressed of farmers = £70 per acre.

A coincidence? I think not.

For why would a landowner bother renting out some fields for less than £70 per acre (with all the stress and hassle of collecting the rent from some poor farmer) if the landowner knows he can let the fields lie fallow and get £70 from the EU/DEFRA?

Posted by: Mark Wadsworth | Aug 6, 2007 10:14:20 PM

Very possibly, Mark, but long term only the landowner will pocket the subsidy. It won't be transparent, but it will be inevitable.

Posted by: dearieme | Aug 7, 2007 12:14:13 PM

Dearieme they did bugger the reforms. Not that CAP can be reformed, much better to scrap the damn thing along with the rest of the EU.

Posted by: chris | Aug 7, 2007 6:33:28 PM

F*** it, is it just me?

I completely agreed with what Dearieme had to say (as usual) and proferred hard stat's to support his contention, what thanks do I get?

Posted by: Mark Wadsworth | Aug 7, 2007 11:01:22 PM