Farm subsidies: Payment to billionaire prince sparks anger
Taxpayers are paying more than £400,000 a year to subsidise a farm where a billionaire Saudi prince breeds racehorses.
The Newmarket farm of Khalid Abdullah al Saud - owner of the legendary horse Frankel - is among the top 100 recipients of EU farm grants in the UK.
The system’s critics say Brexit will let the UK redirect £3bn in subsidies towards protecting the environment.
A spokesman for the prince declined to comment.
Farm subsidies swallow a huge chunk of the EU’s budget. They were started after World War Two to stimulate production, but led to food mountains that had to be dumped.
A compromised reform process - the so-called “greening” of the Common Agricultural Policy - resulted in farmers mostly being paid depending on how much land they own.
The UK’s top beneficiaries include estates owned partly or wholly by the Queen (£557,706.52); Lord Iveagh (£915,709.97); the Duke of Westminster (£427,433.96), the Duke of Northumberland (£475,030.70 ) the Mormons (£785,058.94) - and many wealthy business people.
Asked if the Queen thought it appropriate to receive taxpayers’ subsidy based on the size of her land holding, a spokesman for the Palace said: “Subsidies are open to all farmers, and are received on the Queen’s private estate. We would not comment beyond the detail that is already in the public domain.”