The Tenant Farmers Association has called on DEFRA to ensure that is forthcoming long-term plan for agriculture includes measures to lengthen the terms of Farm Business Tenancies.
Speaking ahead of this year’s Great Yorkshire Show, TFA National Chairman Stephen Wyrill said “Having had Farm Business Tenancies in place for 20 years it is a disgrace that the average length of term falls short of 4 years. The market is simply failing to deliver adequate lengths of term. If farm tenants are going to play their part in helping to deliver the aims and objectives of the Government plan they have got to have adequately long tenancies to be able to do so”.
“DEFRA is going to have to bite the bullet and have some hard-nosed conversations with the Treasury because it is the taxation environment within which owners of land make decisions about land occupation. The current system of land taxation penalises landlords letting for a long period of time whilst providing the perfect setting to encourage short term interests in land which is in no-ones’ best interests, particularly in the context of a long term plan for agriculture,” said Mr Wyrill.
“Long-term tenancies make sense in helping to create resilience against volatility, good soil and environmental management, a sustainable platform for investment and therefore growth and the development of local communities. Short term tenancies heighten uncertainty, risk and stress whilst discouraging good management. It is in all our interests to see average lengths of term increase to at least 10 years,” said Mr Wyrill.
“The Government must act given that private and other owners have failed, thus far to do so. The TFA has developed a raft of policy options that DEFRA and the Treasury can use to achieve longer term tenancies. Those landlords who are already letting tenancies on long terms have nothing to fear from what we are proposing but those letting only for short terms should not have the same taxation reliefs of those who are doing the right thing by their tenants and the wider farming industry. FBTs have been too short for too long and now is the time for change,” said Mr Wyrill.