NFU responds to Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

The NFU has given its initial reaction to the Autumn Statement delivered by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “There is much to be welcomed from today’s announcement particularly on investment in research and development and the roll out of gigabit broadband technology to hardest to reach rural communities. While we await further clarity, these commitments would enable Britain’s farmers to be more productive and efficient, while continuing to produce sustainable food and achieve ambitious net zero goals.

“Like other businesses, it’s rocketing costs for energy - central to producing our food – as well as huge hikes in feed, and fertiliser, which is putting Britain’s farmers and growers under the most intense pressure. We expect an announcement on future support for businesses before Christmas and it is vital this new targeted approach for business beyond next April includes UK food production and the food supply chain. 

“With a safe, affordable domestic food supply being central to our nation’s success, we believe there are robust grounds for the government to classify our industry as a vulnerable sector when it comes to energy provision.

“We also heard from the Chancellor today committing that government departments will have their overall budgets increased in real terms. We trust this will allow Defra to deliver a properly-funded Agricultural Transition Plan to ensure Britain’s farmers have the confidence to invest and grow their businesses, in turn enabling British food, farming and the country to thrive.”

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Notes to editor:

  1. The British food and farming sector contributes more than £120 billion to the UK economy and provides jobs for four million people.