Jeremy Clarkson says UK food prices should be ‘double’ what they are

Jeremy Clarkson has said that food prices should be “double what they are” because of the “soul-destroying” work that goes into food farming.

The Top Gear star made the comments while recalling an experience when he and girlfriend Lisa Hogan had to help pigs on his farm mate during a downpour.

Clarkson, 62, bought a farm in Oxfordshire in 2008 and began managing the land in 2019 after a tenant farmer retired. He renamed the farm Diddly Squat, a reference to its lack of profits.

Speaking to Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel on The News Agents podcast, Clarkson said: “People simply don’t pay enough for their food. The one thing a government will never say, ‘Oh you’ve got to pay more for food, you don’t pay enough’.

“[Prices] should be double what they are. It’s soul-destroying, the amount of work. I mean, I was out last week in honestly sideways rain, really heavy, hard rain, trying to get a pig’s penis into the back of another pig while Lisa, my girlfriend, was trying to give another sow the impression she was being mated by rubbing her back.

“Then somebody’s going to go, ‘How much for your bacon?! Why are you charging so much?’ Because it costs a fortune to do it.”

Clarkson added that the experience “was a very, very funny day but really hard work”.

“Then Lisa and I had to build all their pens so you’re out at night because it goes dark so early. You’re out at night hammering fence posts and then stretching the barbed wire along and fixing electric fences just so that somebody can stand in Tesco and go, ‘Have you seen the price of these pork chops?!’”

The broadcaster’s comments come after food inflation soared to a record 11.6 per cent in October – 6.6 per cent higher than they were this time last year, which was also a record.

Jeremy Clarkson on his farm, Diddly Squat (Blackball Media) (PA Media)
Jeremy Clarkson on his farm, Diddly Squat (Blackball Media) (PA Media)

Prices are expected to go up even further over the next year as farmers face the worst conditions “in living memory”, the National Farmers Union (NFU) warned MPs earlier this month.

The rising cost of animal feed and nitrogen fertiliser, coupled with a chronic labour shortage linked to Brexit, are all expected to push prices up.

Clarkson’s life and work on Diddly Squat is documented in his Amazon Prime series, Clarkson’s Farm, which has gained a huge fan following.

In October, the café and restaurant on the farm was ordered to close over an alleged violation of planning laws. It opened in July despite two rejected applications.