The Ulster Farmers’ Union says that while it recognises the difficult balancing act the Chancellor faces between funding demands and poor economic growth forecasts, it is disappointed no specific measures emerged to help farming and food prepare for the huge challenges and opportunities that Brexit will bring.
UFU president, Barclay Bell, says: “The farming industry across the UK need to see a real focus on making Brexit a success. This is about helping the industry make the necessary changes to remain central to the UK economy.
“The need for that to happen is widely recognised, but the Budget failed to deliver any evidence that this has, so far been taken on board as a priority within government. Measures to help agriculture invest to take on that challenge must be introduced. The Budget failed to deliver any such incentives,” he says.
Mr Bell says that while the Budget showed no commitment to making things better, it did at least avoid making them worse. “Fuel costs are a major issue for people living in rural areas. Diesel, even with tax rebated, is still a huge cost for farmers.
“On that basis we were relieved plans to increase fuel duty were shelved – but that is a small crumb of comfort in a fairly lacklustre budget,” says the UFU president.