FUW calls for flexible tax payments in light of dairy and lamb price crisis

The Farmers’ Union of Wales and Aberconwy MP Guto Bebb joined forces yesterday (Monday, August 17) to discuss challenges facing Welsh farmers and are asking for flexible tax payments in light of the current dairy and lamb price crisis.

The price falls suffered by both lamb and dairy farmers are significant. Whilst the recent announcements for increasing the price paid by supermarkets for liquid milk is very welcome, it deals only with a small portion of the market place.

“We had a very productive meeting yesterday and continued to stress that current price levels are not sustainable. Mr Bebb has agreed to write to DEFRA Minister George Eustice MP, to see what short term support the sector can be offered whilst a long-term strategy is developed,” said FUW president Glyn Roberts.

The union previously welcomed the decision by the Chancellor to extend farmers averaging for tax purposes from two years to five and in a bid to help cash-struck farmers further the union is now calling on farmers to ask their accountants whether the concession could be used to protect their cash-flow.

“Farmers affected by the volatility in the market place are advised to speak to their accounts to see if the concessions can be used to help their cash-flow. In addition Guto Bebb agreed to write to HM Customs and Revenue requesting that the ‘Time to Pay’ concession be invoked for the farming community,” added Mr Roberts.

Mr Bebb, who welcomed the opportunity to meet with the FUW, said: “Farmers want to pay their due and if tax is owing it will be paid. However, the extreme price falls seen across dairy and lamb markets means that many farmers, expected to pay their back taxes in two annual instalments, are facing real cash-flow challenges in meeting their obligations.

“I have written to HM Customs and Revenue asking them to offer flexible time to pay agreements to ensure that farmers meet their obligations without putting any undue short-term pressures on their cash-flows.”

Mr Roberts further said that: “Current marketplace volatility has left many producers struggling to stay afloat and the Union has received calls from members extremely worried about the future viability of their businesses.

“Whilst the FUW will continue to call for both a fairer supply chain and measures to manage over supply, it is also imperative that we try to find immediate solutions to halt the number of farmers going out of business.

“The use of more flexible agreements could go some way to help mitigate the low returns being experienced by Welsh sheep and dairy farmers.”

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