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Thu 29 Sep 2016 01:53 PM

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Saudi billionaire embroiled in UK farm subsidy row

Campaigners say they are outraged that UK taxpayers subsidise farm of racehorse breeder Prince Khalid Abdullah

Saudi billionaire embroiled in UK farm subsidy row

UK campaigners say they are outraged after it was revealed that a billionaire Saudi prince receives £400,000 a year from taxpayers to subsidise a farm where he breeds racehorses.

The BBC reported on Thursday that 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.

It said a spokesman for the prince declined to comment but a campaign for reform is being launched by Greenpeace which said it was an "outrage" that subsidies were given to those such as Khalid Abdullah al Saud, who owns Juddmonte Limited farms.

Greenpeace chief scientist Doug Parr told BBC News: "The subsidy system is utterly broken. We need public money spent on farming to be offering demonstrable public benefits."

The Taxpayers' Alliance was also quoted as saying: "Farmers should be put on notice. Taxpayers shouldn't be handing out what are effectively land subsidies, often to extremely wealthy individuals."

Farm subsidies were started after World War Two to stimulate production, but led to food mountains that had to be dumped. A compromised reform process resulted in farmers mostly being paid depending on how much land they own, the BBC said.

Latest figures reveal that the UK's top beneficiaries also include estates owned partly or wholly by the Queen, the Duke of Westminster, the Duke of Northumberland (£475,030.70 ) the Mormons.

Past EU attempts to radically reform the subsidies have been blocked by Europe's farmers.

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