With the Chancellor making his Budget Statement today, the NFU is highlighting the importance of British farming and the fiscal measures required to ensure it has a productive, resilient and sustainable future.
In the NFU’s letter to the Chancellor, NFU President Meurig Raymond sets out the need for the Government to deliver a new domestic agricultural policy with the environment, farm productivity and volatility mitigation at its heart.
The letter also sets out a number of key fiscal recommendations for a stable and certain fiscal environment which encourages innovation and investment in farm businesses.
Mr Raymond said: “British farming meets 61% of the nation’s food needs and forms the bedrock of the UK food and drink sector which contributes £112bn to the nation’s economy and provides 3.8 million jobs.
“One week ahead of the Budget Statement, I’d like to remind the Chancellor Philip Hammond of farming’s significant economic contribution. This is on top of caring for our iconic British countryside and putting safe, affordable British food on tables across the country.
“In this Budget, the Chancellor has the chance to help secure a bold, ambitious future for British farming. The NFU has made the case for a number of measures which the Chancellor can harness to prepare our sector for life outside the EU.
“Brexit presents an enormous opportunity for the sector, and Government – across all departments – can help us grab it with both hands.”
The NFU’s submission to the Chancellor contains six propositions:
1. Introduction of a Farm Infrastructure Allowance to provide relief for the depreciation cost of farm infrastructure over its useful economic lifespan.
2. An exemption for agricultural buildings from any new system of Community Infrastructure Levy or Local Infrastructure Tariff contributions to avoid a further decline of farm investment.
3. An improved capital allowances regime to encourage the adoption of a wider range of new technologies as a means of improving productivity.
4. Ensuring the rollout of superfast broadband alongside complete mobile phone coverage to help farm more efficiently and fully utilise emerging digital technology such as robotics and GPS.
5. Introduction of a UK farm management deposit scheme to provide farms with the ability to better manage the impact of volatility on profits and their cash flow and enable them to maintain more consistent investment levels.
6. A review of trading loss restrictions to help farmers invest in restructuring their businesses.