Leaders push for budget measures to prepare farms for Brexit

The farming industry has set out a wishlist of demands ahead of the autumn budget on Wednesday (22 November), which leaders argue will help to prepare the sector for the challenges it faces post Brexit.

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has sent detailed proposals to Chancellor Philip Hammond which call for changes to the taxation of land to encourage longer term farm business tenancies (FBTs).

The TFA argues only landlords who are prepared to offer the longest levels of security to their farm tenants should have access to the reliefs available on inheritance tax.

See also: Income tax relief on let land could be a ‘game-changer’

George Dunn, TFA chief executive, said: “Virtually all new farm tenancies are now FBTs and approaching half of all land let in the agricultural sector is under FBT agreements, but the problem is they are usually let for terms which are too short. 

“For some time the TFA has been calling for changes to the taxation system that would encourage landlords to let for periods of 10 years and above and now is the time for the chancellor of the exchequer to respond positively to those calls.”

Meanwhile, the NFU has set out a series of recommendations which it says will encourage innovation and investment in farm businesses.

The NFU’s submission to the chancellor contains six propositions:

  • Introduction of a farm infrastructure allowance to provide relief for the depreciation cost of farm infrastructure over its useful economic lifespan
  • 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
  • An improved capital allowances regime to encourage the adoption of a wider range of new technologies as a means of improving productivity
  • Ensuring the rollout of superfast broadband alongside complete mobile phone coverage to help farm more efficiently and fully use emerging digital technology such as robotics and GPS
  • 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
  • A review of trading loss restrictions to help farmers invest in restructuring their businesses.

Meurig Raymond, NFU president, said: “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.”