by DOUGLAS SHEPHERD and our Investigations Unit
Common Agricultural Policy subsidies for farmers and rural businesses in the Scottish Borders and North Northumberland were worth a colossal £65,810,370 in 2014, according to figures compiled by Not Just Sheep & Rugby in the course of detailed investigations into EU payments.
The statistics are a stark reminder of the potentially devastating financial impact on Borders agriculture and development in the countryside should Britain leave the European Union in the wake of the Tory Government's "In-Out" referendum. Many of the subsidised businesses would struggle to survive without the financial support available via the CAP system.
Ironically, many of those who benefit from these Brussels funds are certain to be Conservative voters. So it will be interesting to see whether many or any of them campaign for a No vote whenever the referendum takes place. Could there be temporary defections within the farming community to the SNP or one of the other political parties in favour of hanging on to our membership of the European club?
According to tens of thousands of subsidies listed on a UK Government website a substantial number of the payments to British farmers run into six figures. That is certainly the case in areas with TD and EH45 postcodes which cover the Borders and Berwick-on-Tweed areas.
The details included on the DEFRA website relate to all CAP subsidy payments
made to beneficiaries during the EU financial year 16 October 2013 to 15
October 2014. We are told: "The UK Government remains committed to full transparency in the use of
public funds, including the publication of details about all payments
made under the CAP."
So Not Just Sheep & Rugby thought it would be in the public interest to assemble figures for each of the Borders postcode sectors, including details of some of the larger payments, although the list is by no means comprehensive. It does give an idea of the contribution CAP payments are making to the regional economy. The figures are in £ sterling and are not necessarily listed in order of value.
GALASHIELS (TD1) - total payments - £3,517,922; including L G Litchfield (Bowland) 378,366; T & J Elliot 162,049; T Elliot (Bedshiel) 127,391; J G Runciman 100,102; J Runciman & Sons 108,030; J Runciman (Lugate) 109,156; A & E Brown 141,423; Southern Upland Partnership 168,000; William Montgomery 195,477.
LAUDER (TD2) - total payments £2,261,345; including Firm of Sutherland 183,517; Huntington Partnership 132,027; W H Sharp & Son 160,093; W Runciman 105,943; William Barr & Company 190,388.
GORDON (TD3) - total payments £2,141,564; including G McDougal (Bassendean) 338,385; Haddington Farms 164,271; J & T MacFarlane 736,918; R W Morris & Company 170,374.
EARLSTON (TD4) - total payments £1,288,565; including Fans Farming 235,614; J W Fullerton & Sons 225,597; Hamish Morison Farming 145,534; R & J Scott Aiton 165,757.
KELSO (TD5) - total payments £10,305,529; including C M Goodson 157,622; Balgonie Estates 233,023; Floors Farming 329,949; H H Robson & Co 111,794; J S Baird & Son 115,096; Kames Partnership 123,488; Lochtower Ltd 146,654; D & DWD Thomson 191,053; J Jeffrey 218,477; J Neil & Son 162,450; TDC Thomson 159,768; T H Brewis 139,593; Ninewells Farms 145,714; Oxnam Estates 136,150; Playfair Farms 182,352; R H Bell 118,194; T W & T B Edgar 328,470; The Oliver Family LLP 206,791.
MELROSE/ST BOSWELLS (TD6) - total payments £2,608,321; including George Marshall 109,928; F & C M Forster 105,669; Mertoun Estates 201,924; Malcolm Stewart 124,403; Maxwell (Faughhill) 162,145; Riddell Farms 124,849; T D Wight 106,100.
SELKIRK (TD7) - total payments £4,661,694; including BQ Farming Partnerships 281,171; Eckford Farming Ltd 192,022; Langholm Farms Ltd 277,468; John White & Sons 103,123; MacDonald Partners 129,942; Matinley Farms 119,943; W J Coltherd 111,720; Sir F M Strang Steel 152,304; Swinside Farming 129,573; T REnwick & Sons 142,812; W N Douglas 220,405.
JEDBURGH (TD8) - total payments £4,618,173; including Borders Forest Trust 194,864; Fenwick Jackson 126,181; Nisbet Mill Farm 218,381; A & A Scott 170,677; R G Barbour & Sons 252,013; R Tile 121,719; Robert Neill & Partners 191,158; Scottish Borders Brewery 154,032; The Firm of Samieston 100,118.
HAWICK (TD9) - total payments £7,937,831; including A R Bell & Son 132,956; H & C J Usher 110,347; H & M Farms 250,219; Hallrule Farms 107,509; W W Dunlop & Son 129,688; Mrs L Townsend 155,737; R J Feakins 204,864; T W Tennant 153,228; W R Girvan (Berryfell) 180,449; W S Davies & Son 149,443.
DUNS (TD10) - total payments £1,887,061; including J C and K C Constable 195,643; John Cavers & Son 111,094; John Mitchell & Co 166,192.
DUNS (TD11) - total payments £8,290,984; including A & G Rodger 152,692; A M & A Calder 207,936; Charterhall Farms 132,162; Duncan Shell 206,054; Ellemford Farms 160,890; G W B Fullerton & Son 167,305; Harehead Farms 222,581; J J & H D J Dobie 144,125; L L MacVie & Co 111,392; MacFarlane Farms 413,594; A & J Hodge 139,525; R P Cowe 176,344; R & J McDonald 321,420; Robert Forrest Ltd 140,427; S White & Co 139,087; W B Prentice 116,613; West Weetwood Farming Partnership 129,487.
COLDSTREAM/CORNHILL (TD12) - total payments £1,250,377; including C A Ramsay 122,869; S & D Blaylock 134,141.
COCKBURNSPATH (TD13) - total payments £593,476; including J P H Wight 161,767.
EYEMOUTH (TD14) - total payments £1,819,099; including P T Edmonson 106,206; R H Allan 103,415; J Fullarton & Son 134,317.
BERWICK-ON-TWEED (TD15) - £8,361,954 paid to 193 beneficiaries.
PEEBLES (EH45) - total payments £2,338,979; including Haystoun 124,706; Glenrath Farms 130,134; J B Currie 124,248; J P Campbell & Sons 352,656.
*Footnote - Even Carola Godman Irvine, of Great Ote Hall, Sussex, who annoys a large proportion of the readership of the Southern Reporter each week with her extreme views on a host of issues including the current migrant crisis, is subsidised by European taxpayers. The payments register shows she received £38,936.15 from CAP sources in 2014 made up of £1,966 for "rural development" and £36,970 in direct aid.
This week the outspoken columnist - her links to the Southern's circulation area appear to be non-existent - is complaining because her cereal yields are so good there will be a glut of grain resulting in depressed prices. You win some you lose some Carola!