10th Nov


TFA Media Release MR17/32 – TFA Looks to Michael Gove for Support in Achieving Longer Term Tenancies

TFA Looks to Michael Gove for Support in Achieving Longer Term Tenancies

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has met DEFRA Secretary of State the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP to highlight some of the specific challenges facing the tenanted sector of agriculture in building resilience in the post Brexit era.

TFA National Chairman James Gray said “Since coming into office in the summer, I have been impressed with the extent to which the Secretary of State has been willing to engage with the farming industry and how quickly he has grasped his brief.  We understand his aspiration for a new policy dynamic for agriculture and we have listened carefully to the aims that he has expressed for the industry in terms of becoming more productive, resilient, market focused and delivering wider public benefits.  However, we believe that it is vital that any new policy fully takes in to account the structure and needs of the non-land owning farm sector, which has been so often overlooked in the past.”

With approaching half of the land farmed by tenant farmers falling under the relatively new farm business tenancy structure, it is concerning that these tenancies continue to be offered for such short lengths of term.  80% of FBTs are let for less than five years and only 6% of FBTs offered by private estates are for terms of 10 years or more.

“How is it possible to enhance productivity through necessary investment and to build resilience by long-term planning, if tenancy terms are so short?  There is market failure here and it should be a legitimate concern of the Government as it sets out its new strategy for domestic agriculture,” said Mr Gray.

The TFA has been arguing for some time for changes in the taxation environment within which landlords make decisions about letting by targeting existing tax reliefs, particularly for inheritance tax, to benefit those who are letting for the longest terms.

“With the Chancellor of the Exchequer due to deliver his autumn Budget in two weeks’ time we would hope that the Secretary of State would see the need to press the Chancellor to look at the proposals we have made for fair and reasonable adjustments to the taxation framework to nudge landlords in the right direction,” said Mr Gray.

“We also stressed the need to ensure that any new policy framework targets support at the active farmer rather than allowing it to be corralled by landlords.  Support should be targeted at those individuals who are in occupation of land, taking the entrepreneurial risk and making the day-to-day management decisions, “said Mr Gray.

Ref:  MR 17/32                                                     Date: 10 November 2017

Notes for Editors

For further information contact James Gray on 07854 504185 or TFA the Chief Executive, George Dunn on 07721 998961.

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