12 March 1999

Farmers facing more red tape

Overall, Budget 1999 has been fairly neutral as far as

farmers are concerned. There was significant help for small

businesses, and the lower rate of income tax will be

welcomed by many this year. But higher fuel costs, and

another rise in stamp duty were also on the agenda

Whatever its effect on individual farm businesses this year, one thing is certain – this weeks Budget has added to the red tape farmers are facing, says Carlton Collister of accountant Grant Thornton.

Chancellor Gordon Brown used the words prudence and fairness in this years Budget, he says. "Perhaps he should have paid a bit more attention to practicality."

The new measures and legislation will make an already complex tax system even more difficult to navigate, says Mr Collister. "They will result in a hectic and expensive year."

In addition to the introduction of the working time directive , farmers will also need to adopt an additional role over the next 12 months with the introduction in October of tax credits for "working families".

This year could be an administrative nightmare for farmers, with the prospect of more European legislation on the horizon. For the sake of British farmers, and in line with the Governments commitment to enterprise, this extra paperwork is an issue which must be addressed now, he says.