EU Agri-subsidies 2012: among millionaires and shadows

Curious about “Who gets What” from the European agricultural subsidies in UK?
Among the millionaires 11 names are currently unknown for privacy reasons, two are aristocrat and five recipients got half of the fund entitled to market support.

Inspired by the work of the farmsubsidy.org team, I have started working on a project on the Commom Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies.

The personal choice of  the UK case is essentially connected to the quality of the information released by the government. Indeed the database of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) includes all the amounts paid by the delegated government bodies to the companies, despite its cover-up of the physical person names, according to the European Commission Regulation No 259/2008.

In the visualization below it is possible to see the millionaire beneficiaries of last year CAP payments round.
The red ones represent the recipients whose names we don’t know.



                       
         
As it can be seen the covered beneficiaries are 11, and the most significant is ranked 4th in the chart.
At this point, while the policy that regulates the release of the names and the payments looked to follow an obvious right to privacy, now might appear damaging another important right, the citizen’s one to know where his/her taxes are spent.

In this case, are the citizens morally entitled to know who received almost 4 million pounds?
Is this privacy law in need to be limited to payments under one million pounds?
The renewal process of the CAP for the period after 2013 is in realization, but in the proposals these questions are not included.

By the way, the unknown “Scrooge McDucks” considered together account for 15 millions pounds.

While fortunately the policy doesn’t interest the majority of the millionaires’ names, globally the payments taken by the noted recipients are 20% of the total amount.

And the 80% is more then 3 billion pounds and covered behind a question mark.

         The big five and the market support 

The CAP payments are divided in two pillars: the first one includes direct payments and market support funding, while the second is for rural development payments.
While the direct ones are based on the land size, the rural development funding aims to foster those projects, companies or farms that are committed toward a development of the rural society.
The payments reserved for market support are in existence for different reasons, including situations of market destabilization and exporting refunding.

In UK the sum of these amounts to more then 30,5 million pounds. It is shared among 310 companies, but last year 5 of them cashed half of the money, leaving the rest to the others.

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