Union argues there are several benefits but the budget overall does not go far enough

The Spring Budget has received a mixed reaction from the NFU.

Tom Bradshaw

Tom Bradshaw

Image: NFU

The union said farmers welcomed some of the announcements in the Chancellor’s budget, but warned it doesn’t go far enough in offering stability for agricultural businesses, growth in food production and decarbonising the sector.

“Where some of the headline announcements, such as an extension to agricultural property relief (APR) and a reduction of National Insurance for the self-employed, could offer some benefits to agricultural businesses, the Chancellor has missed an opportunity to deliver resilience for food producers,” said NFU president Tom Bradshaw.

“We welcome the government backing the NFU’s call for the extension of APR to land in Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes as it will remove a barrier of entry for a number of farm businesses and give farmers more choice about how to use their land. But the extension of this beyond ELMs may have an adverse impact on food production and farm tenancies and we will work with Treasury to assess those implications.

“Agricultural businesses are facing a challenging economic backdrop, with input costs at persistently high levels and at least a 50 per cent reduction in direct farm payment support due this year.

“The announcement on the abolition of the Furnished Housing Letting regime is a significant concern as it’s an important source of diversification for farm businesses which underpins resilience. We will be looking to engage further with Treasury on this announcement.”