The farm subsidies given to vacuum cleaner entrepreneur Sir James Dyson's extensive estate have attracted a lot of criticism. In 2017 he received CAP subsidies of £2.8m, up from £2.4m the previous year because of land purchases.
It is thought to be unfair that one of Britain's richest men should be given such amounts, although in fact they go to his farm business (Beeswax Dyson Farming) rather than to him personally. The estate is made up of 35,000 acres of land in Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. No doubt his example has given some impetus to the reduction of subsidies for larger farms after Brexit.
Now the Financial Times has revealed that the business generated a pre-tax profit of £747,000 last year, compared with a loss of £1.53m the year before. Turnover went up 11 per cent to £15.7m. This represents a return of just under 5 per cent. The cost of sales fell by 12 per cent.
He was one of the few prominent Brexiteers from the world of business in the referendum campaign. He has said that he needs EU subsidies to compete against continental competitors. Over the five years he has put £92m into improving the farms, including renewable energy projects. Investment has been directed at such areas as soil health, technology and infrastructure.