Rural budget reaction

We’ve rounded up a few of the views from the countryside on last week’s budget – let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Sarah Dodds, Head of Agricultural & Rural Business at MHA MacIntyre Hudson:

“The farming sector is facing further uncertainty and change around tax. We expect further announcements and consultations in the next few weeks, which could add more woe for the sector. These are likely to include a review of partnership taxation, as HMRC has already expressed its unhappiness about the current tax treatment of employer provided accommodation. A number of employee expenses are also being reviewed including rent a room relief. It is highly unlikely that these reviews will lead to a reduction in tax for our sector.

“Although we were pleased to hear about the twelve-month deferral of “making tax digital” to be offered to those with turnover below £85,000, this delay isn’t likely to benefit many farms. They will be obliged to make quarterly digital accounts returns from April 2018, and will need to have the correct hardware and software in place by then – software which isn’t yet fully available.”

Sarah Lee, Head of Policy at the Countryside Alliance (read their full analysis here):

“The Countryside Alliance has long campaigned for broadband and mobile phone coverage to extend to rural areas. While progress is being made, many rural communities are still experiencing poor digital connectivity. The funding announcements of £200million to get full fibre broadband to more homes and businesses and £16 million  for a new 5G technology hub are welcome but the Government must ensure that rural areas are not forgotten.”

Mark Suthern, Head of Agriculture, Business Banking, Barclays:

“It’s always encouraging to see how our agricultural customers are reaping the rewards of new technology. Many businesses in the sector will be eager to see how they can benefit from some of the funding that’s being allocated to disruptive technologies such as biotech, robotic systems and driverless vehicles, as well as the investment in PhD places for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.”

Sean McCann, NFU Mutual chartered financial planner: 

Referring to the omNICshambles: “This move could signify that over coming years the Treasury will bring self-employed people’s National Insurance contributions up to the level of those paid by employees – currently 12% for basic rate taxpayers. This will add a further financial burden to the thousands of farmers, contractors and rural service providers who have self-employed status. 

“It’s a huge relief to country people that that the Chancellor did not impose penalties on diesel vehicle users aimed at reducing pollution in urban areas which we had feared could hit farmers and rural businesses hard.” 

For a more detailed look at the rural reaction, check out this excellent article on Farming UK.

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