Higher EU agricultural subsidies helped the farming business of Sir James Dyson to make a profit for the first time last year. Beeswax Dyson Farming generated a pre-tax profit of £747,000, compared to a loss of £1.53m in 2016. Financial support from the EU totalled £2.8m, up from £2.4m the previous year.
The founder of the Dyson consumer products company runs a number of farms and renewable energy projects in the UK. A prominent Brexiter, Sir James publically supported the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum. He has previously defended receiving EU agricultural payments in order to compete against “heavily subsidised” European farms. The move to profit however was not the result of subsidies, but due to investment in technology, according to Sir James. The FT has reported that over the past five years, Sir James has invested £92m into Beeswax Dyson Farming.
The EU Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) is highly contentious. Designed to ensure food security, critics allege the CAP subsidises wealthy landowners. The UK Government has pledged to protect payments until 2022. Thereafter, a new system will be introduced, contingent on environmental management activities.