The Spectator

Letters | 3 August 2017

Also: cricket on the radio, opinions, chlorinated chicken and Fringe politics

No reason for subsidies

Sir: For believers in free enterprise like me, it was hugely disappointing to read that Sir James Dyson, probably its most impressive UK exponent, has become a champion for taxpayer-funded subsidies for the farming industry (‘I like making things’, 29 July). He argues that they are necessary due to the cost of regulations and because other countries have them.

In any global market that UK companies operate in, such excuses for subsidies exist. As Dyson has the biggest farm operation in the UK, his leading the call for the continuation of subsidies to match EU levels should probably not be surprising, but it is still not very inspiring.

The value of farmland is now two and a half times what it was ten years ago. This increase is more than the FTSE 100’s and more than that of prime central London property. This is even with a correction since Brexit.

A plan to eliminate subsidies gradually would lead to necessary adjustments to business plans for the farming industry. Farming would survive. The government could assist by encouraging more diversification. Allowing more farmland to be used for residential development would not only help farmers but address the housing shortage and the huge intergenerational inequality that has resulted from it. David Harper Widemouth, Cornwall

OK for Dyson

Sir: On reading Will Heaven’s interview with Sir James Dyson, I couldn’t help but question Dyson’s integrity. His relaxed attitude to relying on WTO rules in the event of a ‘no deal’ seems to be founded on the idea that it would result in a 3 per cent tariff for his products — never mind the adverse effects on anyone else. Dyson goes on to say that we can ‘pay for’ this by lowering corporation tax. So that’s ok then. Benjamin Burman Hertfordshire

Never too much cricket

Sir: I rather fear Kate Chisholm is on something of a sticky wicket in suggesting that it’s ‘an indictment of the game itself’ that cricket fans watching live matches also spend the day listening to BBC Radio’s Test Match Special, presumably in order to be entertained (Radio, 29 July).

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