With less than a week until the Budget, the NFU has written to the Chancellor to call for measures that ensure British farm businesses are in the best position to be productive, profitable and progressive as they face the challenges and opportunities of Brexit.
In its submission to the Chancellor Philip Hammond, the NFU highlights the role of farming in producing safe, traceable and affordable food for the nation, looking after the environment and contributing to productive and robust economic growth.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “As our domestic agricultural policy returns to Westminster, there has never been a more important time to ensure British farm businesses are fit for the future.
“That is why we are calling on the Chancellor to introduce measures that will help to harness the potential of British farming and give farm businesses the tools to continue producing safe, traceable and affordable food for the public.
“Farmers are passionate about evolving and driving efficiency in their business. It is our firm belief there are simple measures that can give these businesses the means to increase their productivity and deliver more for the public, who expect high standards of quality British food.
“It’s vital the Chancellor takes onboard the measures the NFU has put forward ahead of the Budget and how these can contribute to a thriving farming sector. We must recognise the pivotal role British farming plays in the UK’s largest manufacturing sector food and drink, which generates £113bn in value for the economy and employs nearly four million people.”
The NFU called for eight specific measures:
· Reform of capital allowances with a review of their scope and purpose
· Tax relief on the depreciation cost of farm infrastructure to ease the impact of replacing farm buildings on a business
· Expanding and simplifying Enhanced Capital Allowances to allow early adoption of technology on farm
· Allow SME businesses to surrender the value of their Annual Investment Allowance or Enhanced Capital Allowances claim in return for a payable tax credit
· Evaluation of a farm management deposit scheme for British farmers to allow pre-tax profits to be set aside for future use in the business and therefore improving cashflow
· Extend R&D tax relief to all trading businesses regardless of their business structure
· Ensure the rollout of superfast broadband to all farmers, growers and rural communities, alongside complete mobile phone coverage at a reasonable cost
· Allow diversified farm businesses to elect to have all income sources treated as a single trade for all tax reporting purposes, including Income Tax, VAT and Making Tax Digital to reduce the administrative burden on the business