NFU Mutual reacts to budget

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There is not a lot for farmers to get excited about in the autumn budget, the NFU Mutual has said.

Commenting on the Autumn budget, Tim Price, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “At first glance, there was not a lot for farmers to get excited about – but a few measures which will ease tax bills – and a huge relief that the Chancellor avoided increases in duty on petrol and diesel which would have hit country people very hard.

“Those running small farms and rural businesses will heave a sigh of relief that they won‘t be faced with expensive accounting admin as the Chancellor has decided to keep the threshold for VAT registration at the current £85,000.”

“There was good news for self-employed farmers and all those working as employees that the Chancellor has stuck to the Tory’s promise to keep increasing personal tax allowances. They will be going up to £11,850 for basic rate taxpayers and £46,350 – which means a few hundred pounds more out of the taxman’s grasp.

“No increase in fuel duty rates for petrol or diesel is a huge relief for farmer and their families who currently have no alternative to using these fuels to work the land and get about in the countryside.

“The Chancellor’s extension of Business Rate relief for small pubs will be a help to pubs serving remote rural communities and provide a watering hole for farmers and other locals while no increase in duty on most cider, wines and spirits is a bit of Christmas cheer.

“Confirmation of the Government’s plans to facilitate building of 300,000 new homes by the mid 2020s by the Chancellor could mean great opportunities for farmers in some locations to sell land for building to raise funds for investment elsewhere on their farms – or to diversify and provide a sustainable future for their farms and also local jobs.

“We campaigned hard for the Chancellor to drop plans to increase the rate of Insurance Premium Tax – and we’re delighted that he decided not to further add to the costs of responsible businesses by leaving the tax at its current rate of 12%. NFU Mutual believes further increases in IPT would have placed an unfair burden on country people who have no option but to use cars to get around.”

He added: “We always find that the detailed treasury document behind the Chancellor’s speech contains a few hidden surprises – so check out NFU Mutual’s website nfumutual.co.uk for detailed analysis over the next few days when our experts have gone through the document with a fine toothed comb to pick up hidden measures which could have an impact on farm businesses and personal taxation.”