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Business of Brexit-backing Welsh Conservative benefited from £680,000 in EU funds

01 Jan 2021 3 minutes Read
Andrew RT Davies

The business of the Brexit-backing former leader of the Welsh Conservatives has benefited from at least £680,000 in EU funds – including over a hundred thousand since the referendum, Nation.Cymru can reveal.

Andrew RT Davies blasted the EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP) as a “retirement fund” for farmers while campaigning to leave and says today’s exit from the single market is a chance to “move away from the discredited CAP regime.”

But the South Wales Central MS runs a family farm in the Vale of Glamorgan which has been a major beneficiary of the EU fund.

It was previously reported that TJ Davies & Sons, of which RT Davies is a director and partner according to the Senedd’s register of interests, had received £96,808 in EU funding between 2013 and 2014.

Our research shows the business has received around seven times that amount.

Despite RT Davies’s support for Brexit and criticism of CAP, UK Government data shows his family firm continued to apply for EU subsidies after the vote to leave, receiving £42,133 in 2019 and £46,153 in 2018.

The UK Government only publishes payments made during the previous two years but Nation.Cymru found earlier records of CAP payments made to TJ Davies and Sons in Welsh Government spending data.

It shows RT Davies’s family firm received £45,592 in 2017 and £36,746.45 in 2016 and £59,622 in 2015.

That comes on top of at least £355,365 received by the business prior to 2013, according to the FarmSubsidy.org website run by Germany’s Open Knowledge Foundation.

It means that RT Davies’s business has received at least £682,419 in EU funds, although the real figure is likely to be even higher given that data is not available for the years 2007 to 2010.

In 2016, a spokesperson for RT Davies told the Mirror that his decision to back Brexit despite his business being in receipt of EU funds “clearly shows what a principled stand Andrew is taking.”

“He will continue to speak up for UK agriculture – and against this European gravy train,” they added.

“There is no such thing as EU money. That money belongs to UK taxpayers and we pay £10 billion a year more than we receive to be part of this racket.

“To pretend that hard-pressed farmers across Britain will be worse off is absolute nonsense.”

 

‘Fair income’

Welsh farming unions expressed their relief that an eleventh-hour Brexit deal has been reached but said it would still leave Welsh farmers worse off.

“Our access to the EU market, which is the destination for three-quarters of Welsh food and drink exports, will still face significant barriers after 31st Decembers, with non-tariff barrier costs expected to rise by 4 to 8 per cent,” said FUW president Glyn Roberts.

Three more members of the Senedd have registered an interest in farming businesses supported by CAP.

Liberal Democrat education minister Kirsty Williams is a partner in DC Rees and Sons, which has received £127,569 in the past two years.

Tory MS Suzy Davies, who backed Remain in 2016 but has since embraced Brexit, has a spouse who is a partner in a farming business, HE Davies and Co, which has received at least £163,872 since 2003.

Plaid Cymru’s Llyr Gruffydd registered that his former spouse, from whom he has been separated since 2018, is a partner in a farming business receiving EU funds.

Ahead of the referendum, the National Farmers Union said CAP “helps address the failure of agricultural markets to deliver a fair level of income for farmers. It helps farmers deal with market volatility and ensures a degree of resilience to shocks.”

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