Autumn Budget for farmers – could no news actually be good news?

Featuring Brian Harvey | 25th October, 2018

Agriculture is a sector more directly impacted by Brexit than most others, and yet despite the clock ticking, the Autumn Budget looming and an Agriculture Bill which although covers a lot of ground, still remains vague, there has not yet been clarity over how the Brexit outcome might look for farmers.

Chancellor Philip Hammond is due to present his Autumn Budget on Monday 29 October – his last announcement prior to leaving the EU. Head of Agriculture at PKF Francis Clark, Brian Harvey, sets out what he believes the industry might like to hear from Mr Hammond.

“I suspect that a multi-annual funding commitment for the industry that goes beyond the lifetime of any particular parliament and which would allow farmers to plan and invest in the future, is too much to ask for?

Perhaps a review of the current capital allowances system would be welcome, with the aim of delivering investment incentives, which would assist farmers in improving productivity and competitiveness. Also, gaining allowances on farm buildings would be a welcome addition and some in the sector would like to see a deferral of the implementation of Making Tax Digital for VAT, given everything else that is going on.

Personally I would like to see some flexibility in relation to the ability of retiring farmers to be able to effectively ‘bank’ Agricultural Property Relief (APR) which could, if properly implemented, allow more land to be freed up to be farmed by new entrants or more progressive farmers, which would hopefully improve the productivity of the sector, but perhaps such radical thinking might have to wait.

However, to be honest, I will be surprised if agriculture or farming gets a single mention on 29 October and perhaps that might not actually be such a bad thing, if that means valuable reliefs such as APR, Business Property Relief (BPR) and Entrepreneurs’ Relief remain unchanged. All three have been subject to recent review and any restrictive or negative changes to these would create further uncertainty in the sector in what are already uncertain times.”

PKF Francis Clark will be keeping a close eye on the Budget and providing updates both during and post the announcement on the 29 October. Keep up to date with them on Twitter, LinkedIn and on their live blog.

 

 

 

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