The Chancellor’s announcement to double the rate of the Annual Investment Allowance is welcome news for agriculture but it would have been better if George Osborne had made it a permanent fixture, says the NFU.
In his speech today, Mr Osborne doubled the allowance to £500,000 and extended it until 2016 but the NFU says permanence would have helped the industry better plan for the future.
NFU President, Meurig Raymond said: “Despite the reasonably good news on the investment allowance for plant and machinery, any incentives for capital infrastructure investment were sadly lacking in today’s budget. This is all the more frustrating given that few farming businesses are in a situation to benefit from the continued reductions in corporation tax. While the Chancellor talks about adding resilience and balance to the economy, farmers need to invest in capital items, and not just plant and machinery."
“The NFU applauds the government’s intention, this autumn, to publish a long-term plan to protect the country from future flooding. Indeed, we highlighted the need for a root and branch review of the government’s flood management policy in the NFU Flooding Manifesto."
The £140m of funding to repair and restore flood defences is in addition to the £130m announced in February.
“Also, with a renewed interest in careers in the agri-business sector, the industry will welcome the extension to apprenticeship grants. The challenge for farming will be to get its fair share from the extra £85m that the Chancellor has announced."
In other good news, the UK drinks industry will be pleased with various measures including freezing duty on Scotch whisky and cider, in which he singled out weather affected cider makers in the West Country. Beer duty was also reduced by one pence per pint. The NFU supported the British Beer and Pub Association in their campaign to freeze the duty on beer. As an integral part of the drinks supply chain, it is a positive decision for UK farmers and growers.