‘Inaccurate, misleading’ payment site raises producers’ concerns

A website displaying individual farm support payments has come under fire from farmers who are concerned that some of the figures are inaccurate and potentially misleading.

The site www.farmsubsidy.org was highlighted in Farmers Weekly’s Talking point feature (Opinion, 16 June) by Charlie Flindt.

Since then farmers have been logging on to check the details against their own paperwork.

“When I saw the figure for my holding, which was totalled for two years and presented in euros, I nearly fell over,” one grower told Farmers Weekly.

“It is broken down later, but if people take a snapshot it looks like I am paid much more than I actually get.

That was misleading and will only fuel the public’s belief that we are paid big sums.”

Another reader insisted his payment figures were inaccurate.

“Whichever way you look at my figure on the website, it is wrong. It shows that I’m paid over £130,000 for a single year.

The reality is I got £69,000,” said John Fox from Shropshire.

“I’m not ashamed of the subsidy cheque I get.

But I am annoyed that the information is not even close.”

Farmers Weekly contacted the website to put farmers’ concerns to the people behind it.

Website co-founder Jack Thurston said:

“We are very concerned to hear that farmers are complaining about the accuracy of the figures.

We use the Rural Payments Agency data, which are published under the Freedom of Information Act, so the only way they can be wrong is if the original data have been calculated wrongly.”

Mr Thurston urged farmers to complain to the RPA via e-mail and send a copy to the website address.

“If farmers can point us to errors, then we want to hear from them.

If the government is putting out incorrect data, then we, too, want to know because that really would be outrageous.

We will challenge the RPA, but we need your readers to help us do so.

“Our drive in publishing this information is simply transparency,” he added.

“The website should be a useful tool for farmers.

The release of equivalent data in France helped small-scale farmers draw attention to the small amount of support they received,” said Mr Thurston.


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