Former Chancellor George Osborne has sparked controversy by suggesting agricultural subsidies are paid by the ‘poorest people in the country’ to support some of the richest.
The remarks, which were made during Mr Osborne’s contribution to the Brexit Bill debate yesterday, were branded ‘unhelpful’ by the NFU.
NFU director of EU exit and international trade Nick Von Westenholz said: “The result of the referendum has of course led to a reappraisal of how we will use public funds in future to support out farmers.
“However, simplifying the issue into soundbites such as this is unhelpful – farmers across the board, big and small, currently receive financial support to help with the delivery of a secure food supply and to mitigate the volatility farm businesses have to manage in doing so year-on-year.
“The average support payment for a dairy farmer, for example, is £25,000 a year, while the average monthly running cost of a dairy farm is £40,000 – without taking wages.
“These farm businesses have roots that run through the rural community and their contribution is significant on both a local and national scale when it comes to the economy.”
In 2012, The Guardian revealed millionaire Mr Osborne had included the mortgage for a paddock next to his Cheshire farmhouse on taxpayer-funded expenses.