PMQs query on Duke’s farm funding

The Duke of Northumberland. Picture by Jane Coltman
The Duke of Northumberland. Picture by Jane Coltman

The amount of funding the Duke of Northumberland receives in farm subsidies was raised at Prime Minister’s Questions last week.

During the session in the House of Commons last Wednesday, Labour MP Chris Bryant asked: “When the Prime Minister introduces a UK agricultural policy because we have left the common agricultural policy, will the Duke of Westminster still receive £407,000 a year, will the Duke of Northumberland still receive £475,000 a year, and will the Earl of Iveagh still receive £915,000 a year from the British taxpayer?”

Prime Minister Theresa May replied: “The hon. gentleman is right that one of the tasks we will have when we leave the European Union is to decide what support is provided to agriculture as a result of our being outside the common agricultural policy.

“I assure him that we are taking the interests of all parts of the United Kingdom into account when we look at that system and what it should be in future.”

In October last year, we reported that a Greenpeace investigation had analysed the top 100 recipients of the Common Agricultural Policy’s single payment scheme – subsidies paid out based on the area of land owned.
The list featured the Duke of Northumberland’s Percy Farms and Lilburn Estates Farming Partnership, near Wooler, which is owned by Duncan Davidson, founder of housebuilder Persimmon.
The payments, however, are contingent on certain rules and conditions, meaning that farmers and landowners need to demonstrate that they are keeping their land in ‘good agricultural and environmental condition’ and that they are complying with a number of specific legal requirements, known as statutory management requirements.