Ulster Farmers’ Union President Ian Marshall has welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement that farmers will be able to average profits over five years, up from the previous allocation of two years.
He added: “The UFU has been lobbying intensely at a local and national level to see the averaging period extended especially as in recent years market volatility across all farming sectors has resulted in huge variations in profitability from year to year. Due to the increasingly global nature of farming and because Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry is primarily export focused, farm businesses here are particularly susceptible to volatility and the unpredictability of the last number of years has posed a real challenge to cash flows.
“Farmers will also be pleased to hear that the Annual Tax Return will be abolished, as this will help to reduce the amount of paperwork farmers are burdened with each year. As well, the commitment to bring faster broadband to rural areas will aid farmers in managing their businesses in an increasingly digital world. Already, work is underway in Northern Ireland to improve broadband services in rural areas and this Budget commitment should complement those efforts,” he added.
“The speedy opening of new export markets is a priority for the UFU and the Chancellor’s commitment in the latest Budget to strengthen trade links with China is encouraging. We have already been making a case to politicians and Government departments, both locally and nationally, that swift progress must be made in order to capitalise on export market opportunities in an effort to realise the growth and development of our agri-food industry envisaged by the NI Agri-Food Strategy Board.”