Chancellor urged to prioritise British farming in upcoming Budget Statement

The importance of the British farming industry has been highlighted in a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond. 

In a letter to the Chancellor, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) set out the need for the government to deliver a new domestic agricultural policy with the environment, farm productivity and volatility mitigation, while ensuring the industry has a resilient and sustainable future.

“British farming meets 61% of the nation’s food needs and forms the bedrock of the UK food and drink sector, which contributes £109 billion to the nation’s economy and provides 3.8 million jobs,” said Meurig Raymond, NFU president.

“One week ahead of the Budget Statement, I’d like to remind Chancellor Philip Hammond of farming’s significant economic contribution. This is on top of caring for our iconic British countryside and putting safe, affordable British food on tables across the country.”

The letter outlined key fiscal recommendations for a stable and solid fiscal environment, encouraging innovation and investment in farm businesses.

“In this Budget, the Chancellor has the chance to help secure a bold, ambitious future for British farming,” continued Raymond. “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.

“Brexit presents an enormous opportunity for the sector, and government – across all departments – can help us grab it with both hands.”

The Autumn Budget Statement is due to be announced on Wednesday 22 November. 

Six propositions the NFU suggested to the Chancellor

1)      The introduction of a Farm Infrastructure Alliance, which will provide relief for the depreciation of farm infrastructure over its useful economic lifespan

2)      An exemption for agricultural buildings from any new system of Community Infrastructure Levy or Local Infrastructure Tariff contributions, avoiding a further decline of farm investment

3)      Improving the capital allowances scheme, resulting in the encouragement of adopting a wider range of new technologies as a means of improving productivity

4)      Ensuring the roll-out of superfast broadband alongside complete mobile phone coverage to help farm more efficiently and fully utilise emerging digital technology such as robotics and GPS

5)      The launch of a UK farm management deposit scheme that serves farms with the ability to better manage the impact of volatility on profits and their cash flow, as well as enabling them to maintain more consistent investment levels

6)      A review of trading loss restrictions to help farmers invest in restructuring their businesses

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