Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual is calling for the Chancellor to use his forthcoming Budget to ease farmers’ path towards Brexit.
“Until Brexit plans are confirmed, UK farmers are currently unable to make long-term investment because of uncertainty about future agricultural support and export opportunities,” explained Tim Price, NFU Mutual Rural Affairs Specialist.
“To help farmers through this transitional period we are urging the Chancellor to support farmers and the rural community – by simplifying both business and inheritance tax rules and avoid introducing measures that could add more financial stress to rural businesses.”
One issue causing additional pressure on farm businesses was the review of business rates, Tim said.
“Farmers who have diversified and now use their premises for commercial, tourism or retail enterprises are being hit by higher business rates, which is adding to the pressures on farmers’ incomes at a time of low profitability for many farming sectors.
“We’re hoping that the Government’s promise to look at this issue will result in the immediate implementation of full planned rises being delayed.
“We’re also concerned that measures to reduce pollution from diesel vehicles in urban areas by increasing fuel duty could unfairly hit farmers and country people who rely on diesel vehicles such as 4 x 4s, vans and lorries. These vehicles are crucial for thousands of rural businesses.”