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Walston defends TV call to scrap subsidies

06 January 1999
Walston defends TV call to scrap subsidies

BARLEY baron Oliver Walston has defended himself after calling for the scrapping of subsidies totalling £4 billion paid by British taxpayers to farmers …more…
todays news



Agrimonetary Euro rate (7 January, 1999) = £0.7076
Creditworthy customers?
FWi Company Check gives peace of mind
Making Money out of Beef – MLC report PLUS Interactive Beef Management programme
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Walston defends TV call to scrap subsidies

06 January 1999
Walston defends TV call to scrap subsidies

BARLEY baron Oliver Walston has defended himself after calling for the scrapping of subsidies totalling £4 billion paid by British taxpayers to farmers …more…
todays news



Agrimonetary Euro rate (7 January, 1999) = £0.7076
Creditworthy customers?
FWi Company Check gives peace of mind
Making Money out of Beef – MLC report PLUS Interactive Beef Management programme
ADAS, CLA and NFU membership services
Click the logos
    



    Read more on:
  • News

Walston defends TV call to scrap subsidies

06 January 1999
Walston defends TV call to scrap subsidies

BARLEY baron Oliver Walston has defended himself after calling for the scrapping of subsidies totalling £4 billion paid by British taxpayers to farmers …more…
todays news



Agrimonetary Euro rate (7 January, 1999) = £0.7076
Creditworthy customers?
FWi Company Check gives peace of mind
ADAS, CLA and NFU membership services
Click the logos
    



    Read more on:
  • News

Walston defends TV call to scrap subsidies

06 January 1999
Walston defends TV call to scrap subsidies

By Johann Tasker

BARLEY baron Oliver Walston has defended himself after calling for the scrapping of subsidies totalling £4 billion paid by British taxpayers to farmers.

Mr Walston, who admits he was “born with silver spoon in just about every orifice known to man”, made the call in the first programme of Against the Grain.

Walston: Fighting talk from the self-confessed fat-cat farmer

The programme, shown on BBC2 on Monday evening (4 January), was the first in a series of three which aim to lift the lid on British agriculture.

“We are becoming subsidy junkies,” Mr Walston told thousands of viewers after his own £180,000 annual subsidy cheque “completely crazy.”

Mr Walston employs only four workers on his 2000-acre (810ha) East Anglian farm, spending £50,000 a year on sprays and making few concessions to farm environmentally.

His statements and farming methods incensed many farming viewers, some of whom took part in the first programme.

Michael Hart, who was shown battling to scrape a living from his small farm in Cornwall, said: “Im worried that many viewers will switch off after this programme and not see the conclusions reached at the end of the series.”

But Mr Walston defended his stance, saying that although all production subsidies for lowland arable farmers should be abolished, hill farmers should still be supported.

“People listen to what they want to hear,” he told FWi. “Ive got the reputation of a man who wants to end all subsidies.”

The remainder of the series will argue that supporting all farmers is pointless but subsidising rural communities and individuals is a different matter.

“For scenic and environmental reasons, abolishing payments in upland areas would be a bad thing,” said Mr Walston.

“It would also be a bad thing socially because farming in those areas is the only thing which provides an income.”

Farmers interviewed for programmes to be shown over the next three weeks are now waiting nervously to see how their comments have been edited.

Next weeks programme, to be shown on Monday, will show Mr Walston “outing” the £250,000 subsidy received by fellow farmer Hugh Oliver-Bellasis.

Mr Oliver-Bellasis, who employs 30 workers on 3000 acres (1214ha) in Hampshire, said the subsidy cheque enabled him to protect the environment by farming less intensively.

“I have more farmland birds of the type the RSPB is concerned about purely because I farm in a certain way,” said Mr Oliver-Bellasis.

“Farming in the way I do, and employing the number of people I do, I am entitled to that amount of public support.”

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