email received 14 December 2004
".....Now I'm not suggesting that this is a sneaky method of self financing the SFP, or even an opportunity of profit for our masters in the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs. ..."
Excellent letter from Mr. Hosking (link) - completely missing the point! He's right of course re expertise etc. but EU / Defra have totally got this SFP sussed. Defra draw down the moneys from the EU fund in total. Then send out hundreds of cross compliance checks - including puddles - which will be inspected. Any that a farmer cannot, does not, has not 'complied' with result in a fine, or reduction in the money available to him.
But, any moneys so 'fined' by Defra's army of inspectors does not have to be returned in total. They get to keep 25 percent of it.
Now I'm not suggesting that this is a sneaky method of self financing the SFP, or even an opportunity of profit for our masters in the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs. They don't need an excuse to make the UK's hoops even more convoluted and onerous than need be - that happens anyway.
I was told last week that until Government changes the methodology by which it measures 'sustainability' of farming, downward pressure on farm gate prices would continue. Not sure what that means other than the health and welfare of the population depends on ever cheaper food, and if that means fewer farmers or even no farmers - so be it. Food comes from the supermarket - didn't you know that? All farmers are required to do in SFP is to keep land 'tidy' and 'available' for food production.