Letter: Farming fat cat doubles intake

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The Independent Online
Sir: Gavin Strang's desire to reduce subsidy to large farming businesses and your research into farming subsidies ("Farming fat cats reap a rich harvest", 29 November) raise a cartload of issues.

Large farmers do receive large subsidies, but not disproportionately to the area farmed. Large farmers also have more hired labour. My recent, at this stage tentative, research, based on data supplied by Cambridge University, suggests that a fall in support by say 10 per cent would reduce employment by a little over 10 per cent. Agriculture is one of the biggest industries in the UK and in many areas it is the only source of employment.

UK farming has undergone significant structural change, and pain, compared with our European neighbours. It would be a pity if these hard-won advantages were lost.

Efficient production with reduced dependency on support for food production should allow any government to target resources to achieve its, or more importantly the electorate's, objectives. These may be cheaper food, maintenance of the environment, employment, organic farming, lower taxes or whatever.


Cottenham, Cambridgeshire