Farmers warned not to delay in addressing post-Brexit issues

A leading rural accountant in south west England is encouraging farmers to re-evaluate their business plans so that they can “make the most of the good times” which may lie ahead in the run-up to Brexit while also protecting their business against “future volatility” once the UK is out of the EU.

Delivering a “plan strategy now” message to a farmers’ meeting in Newton Abbot, Devon, this week, accountant Andrew Vickery said that producers could enjoy a buoyant couple of years ahead of Brexit but warned that the industry may face another downturn after 2020.

Head of rural services at accountants. Old Mill, Mr Vickery (pictured above) said that farmers were currently benefiting from the weak Pound following the EU referendum. This was making exports more competitive and had boosted the basic payment by 16.5% in 2016.

“If currency stays weak we could have two or three very good years,” he said.

The meeting also focused on the uncertainty of Brexit and the 2020 CAP reform process, howwever, with HSBC’s relationship director in rural services, Paul Blundell, telling the gathering that it is “really important” to prepare for a future with ambiguous government support.

“Don’t wait until 2020 to start planning,” he said. “You need to get your business in a shape that you can farm the way you want to, without financial support.”

Mr Vickery agreed, adding that for some it could be worth re-evaluating their business structure, including in relation to agricultural tax issues.

“Being proactive and planning ahead could make the difference between a successful, viable business and one that doesn’t survive,” he warned. “Don’t be complacent. Agricultural tax reliefs are very generous at the moment and the Government would find it politically very easy to change them.

“Make the most of the good times while you can.”

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