Farm businesses can play a ‘key role’ in investment-led recovery – NFU

National Farmers Union (NFU) president Minette Batters said that the new budget announced by Rishi Sunak today (March 3), “underlines the importance of the support offered to businesses by the government throughout the pandemic, which has kept many businesses viable over the past year”.

She said:

In the longer-term, farm businesses can play a key role in the investment-led recovery that the Chancellor has set out today.

“With an ambition to reach net zero by 2040, British farming can be a pivotal part of meeting our climate ambitions and increasing productivity.”

Reduced VAT rate

Batters continued:

Farm businesses, and their diversified enterprises, will welcome the Chancellor’s decision to extend the reduced rate of VAT for retail, hospitality and leisure, extend business rates relief, offer further grants for the self-employed, introduce a new recovery loan scheme and make restart grants available for tourism and hospitality businesses.

“These are all measures that will support rural businesses to recover from the impact of Covid-19.

“The announcement of the UK Infrastructure Bank to finance green investment could be a crucial tool in stimulating investment and driving green economic growth.

“The launch of the Levelling Up Fund could also be positive for rural areas in narrowing the growing divide between rural and urban. We look forward to receiving more detail on how this may work in practice.”

Limitations of the ‘super deduction’

“However, we are disappointed that the ‘super-deduction’ on machinery investment is only applicable to limited companies and not available to all businesses, especially when significant investment in new farm technology is required,” the NFU president added.

With all of these announcements, it’s incredibly important that the needs of rural businesses are accommodated and that they are able to access appropriate funding.

“Our new ‘Levelling up rural Britain’ report highlights how investment in British farming and rural Britain can bring huge benefits to sustainable food production, but also the entire nation; delivering jobs, green growth, exports and wellbeing for the entire nation.

It’s vital it is embraced by the Treasury and the government,” she concluded.