South Antrim DUP MP William McCrea has welcomed the announcement in this week’s budget that farmers will be allowed to average their incomes for tax purposes over five years.
Commenting he said: “Whilst all businesses will have fluctuations, the level of volatility in agriculture is much more significant. Farmers can benefit greatly from increases in commodity prices only then to face several years of low prices or weather difficulties.
“By allowing farmers to average incomes over a period of five years it allows for easier financial planning.
“It should also give farmers greater confidence to invest in the growth of their business. In Northern Ireland that is particularly important given the vital role the agri-food industry plays in our economy,” added Mr McCrea.
“Dairy farmers have been struggling for some time now with low prices, and a change such as this will help to smooth out some of the price volatility which can be so destabilising for farm businesses.”
Meanwhile, the NFU says the Chancellor’s decision to allow farmers and growers to average their incomes over five years will go some way to allowing them to manage market volatility – and focus more on investment and growth.
“We are very pleased that Mr Osborne said that he had listened to the arguments by the NFU and will allow farmers to average their incomes over five years. As he mentioned in his speech, farmers are increasingly facing a volatile marketplace and this will enable them to manage the impacts of this,” said NFU President Meurig Raymond.