Sunday, February 20, 2011
By Mail On Sunday Reporter
Last updated at 10:15 PM on 19th February 2011
Ministers have ordered an information blackout on the massive farming subsidies paid to the Queen, Prince Charles and dozens of other wealthy landowners.
Payouts, which in past years have amounted to £500,000 to the Queen and more than £100,000 to the Prince of Wales, will remain secret because publication has been deemed an invasion of privacy by the European Court of Justice.
But freedom of information groups point out that the court ruling applies only to identifying private individuals, and that large farming concerns – which might include those owned by the Queen and the Prince – could still be named.
The Department for the Environment said it was 'administratively not feasible' to separate company and private details, so it was banning publication of both.
A total of 80,000 farmers were paid £1 billion in EU farming subsidies for the past year.