Friday, July 28, 2006

Subsidy abuse

The Department for the Environment, Foor and Rural Affairs (Defra) under Margaret Beckett - now off fixing the Middle East as Condoleeza Rice's bitch Britain's Foreign Secretary - has repeatedly cocked up farm subsidy payments through an ongoing mismanagement that could yet bugger up the struggling agricultural sector even more than did the same department's balls-ups over BSE, Foot and Mouth and Bovine TB.

Which makes me wonder how Britain has managed to get away with just €2.39 million in EU-imposed agricultural penalties - none for mismanagement or poor payment systems - when Greece has been told to pay back €6.46 million for "various weaknesses in the system for management", Ireland €0.17 million for "administrative deficiencies" and Spain €4.99 million for "non-respect of payment deadlines". This all part of the European Commission's attempt to reclaim subsidy money via a system of penalties for dodginess - 7 out of 25 EU member states being penalised.

The country with the largest penalties? Let's think - which country is likely to have abused the farm subsidy system the most? Which country can possibly be responsible for more than half of the €161.9 million the Commission is claiming in penalties?

Yep, step forward France! €87.97 million in total, of which €77.13 million is for giving subsidies out for "ineligible land". Yep, France has been claiming farming subsides for non-arable land.

This is where we've been going wrong - don't stick to the letter of EU law, hustle. Work it. Let's learn from our cousins over the water, and start scamming. Let's claim farm subsidies for Hyde Park. Hell - let's claim them for the Bluewater Shopping Centre's car park...

Of course, the only trouble is that as long as Defra's in charge of managing the things, they'll end up stuck in some kind of managerial limbo, only to emerge in some dim and distant future where all livestock and crops have died of bureaucratic oversight and mankind has devolved even further into some kind of feral rodent hybrid, subsisting purely on alcopops and knife fights, and incapable of movement without the aid of an undersized BMX powered solely by envy and rage.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Will said...

€2.39, or €2.39 million? ;-)

7/28/2006 11:52:00 am  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Damn your eyes, sir.

Edited.

7/28/2006 11:58:00 am  
Anonymous Laughing Cavalier said...

It's deliberate. NuLabour hates the rural community because it doesn't vote Labour and is determined to destroy it. That's why we call DEFRA the Department for Ending Farming and Rural Activities.

7/28/2006 05:22:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've long said that Britain needs to be more involved in Europe. In exactly the way you propose.

Make the overclaiming so offensive that even the French squeak. Then do some more. It's the only way to get reform.

I have a small pot plant outside my door. Which way to claim for 327 sheep?

7/28/2006 09:51:00 pm  
Blogger chris said...

Surely becoming as cynical and grasping as everybody else cannot be the only way to make our membership of the EU work? ... Even if it is the only way known, based on experience to date.

7/29/2006 08:14:00 am  
Anonymous robin said...

Or just leave the big EU project and run the country properly.
No need to worry about the scams then.

7/30/2006 10:07:00 pm  

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