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Autumn Statement Could Have 'Positive Effect' on Farming, Says Union

06 December 2013
National Farmers Union

UK - According to the National Farmers Union (NFU), several of the announcements made in the Autumn Statement could have a positive effect on farming, according to chief economist Phil Bicknell.

Speaking after the Chancellors announcements in yesterday's (5 December) Autumn statement, Mr Bicknell said: "Moves to freeze fuel duty rises and extend small business rate relief in addition to the previously announced employment allowance could all play a part in helping farming’s profitability in the future.

“But there is also a missed opportunity here. Long term demand for food is growing and we’ve got a natural advantage when it comes to some farming systems. But agriculture is a sector where incomes tend to be volatile from year to year, and the past 12-18 months have proven that. Such volatility isn’t conducive for long-term investment in farming infrastructure, so it’s frustrating that we’re not seeing consideration of fiscal measures that incentivise SMEs like farmers to develop long term strategies and make consistent investment in their businesses.

“Whether it’s farm buildings or on-farm reservoirs that help water management, the current system encourages a make-do and mend approach. By contrast, new investment on-farm would have significant benefits for local economies and particularly for the construction sector that is still 11.5 per cent smaller than it was in 2008 and remains under pressure.

“As with every announcement of this type, the devil is in the detail. We will study all relevant announcements in greater depth as they become available, and assess the full impact of the Chancellor’s plans for agriculture.”

ThePigSite News Desk

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