27 November 2000
Rate relief on diversification?

By FWi staff

THE governments Rural White Paper may extend rate relief to diversification projects, so long as they are based on a working farm, landowners believe.

Bruce Monnington, Country Landowners Association chief legal advisor, said the government had signalled that it wants rural policies to encourage diversification.

Ministers have been considering relieving business rates for five years on all new horse enterprises. A decision on the matter is expected within two weeks.

Mr Monnington said he believed relief may be extended to other enterprises.

It is already known that the white paper, due to be published by the government on Tuesday (28 November), will reduce planning restrictions faced by farmers.

Despite a common misconception, however, even farmers who dont require planning permission for diversification remain liable for business rates.

Paying rates is an expense which threatens the profitability of many new non-farming start-up enterprises started by producers eager to boost their incomes.