TFA Media Release – MR20/10 – The Chancellor Must Not be Distracted by Destructive Anti-Farming Advice

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) is looking to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for some sensible, creative thinking as he delivers his first budget, rather than following the destructive line of his senior economic adviser Dr Tim Leunig.

TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn, said, “It is a major concern that Dr Tim Leunig is considered a senior adviser at the heart of Government, when his view is so blinkered to describe the contribution of UK agriculture as ‘negligible’.  Agriculture’s contribution to the retail and foodservice supply chains in this country, it’s stewardship of biodiversity and landscape and its contribution to culture, recreation and tourism is nothing short of phenomenal and continues to deserve public support.”

“In the maelstrom of policy development there are always some wild and wacky ideas in the mix when advisers are asked to think the unthinkable.  The suggestion that the UK should abandon agriculture falls squarely into the category of wild and wacky.  From whatever angle you look at it, the idea that we should follow the example of Singapore stands no scrutiny whatsoever.  The Chancellor of the Exchequer has an opportunity to stand in support of British agriculture as he delivers his first Budget statement next week.  He has a responsibility to us all to disassociate himself with Leunig’s eccentric analysis,” said Mr Dunn.

The TFA has provided the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with a set of positive proposals aimed at ensuring the tenanted sector of agriculture can play its full part in delivering the Government’s agenda for food, farming and the countryside.

“Our main concern is the lack of security available to almost half of the agricultural tenants who occupy land under Farm Business Tenancy agreements.  The average length of term is now cripplingly low at less than three years and only 10% are let for five years or more.  This is no basis for a productive, environmentally sustainable sector, which is why the TFA has suggested several tax changes that would lead to the availability of many more longer-term tenancies,” said Mr Dunn.

The TFA’s proposals for tax changes include the following:

  • Restricting the generous, 100% Agricultural Property Relief from Inheritance Tax (currently available to all landlords regardless of the length of time for which they are prepared to let land) only to those prepared to let for 10 years or more. Landlords should also be able to lock this in from the start of the tenancy.
  • Allowing landlords letting land for 10 years or more to declare their income as if it was trading income for taxation purposes for the duration of the tenancy.
  • Clamping down on landowners using share farming, contract farming, share partnerships and grazing licences simply for tax advantage.
  • Reforming Stamp Duty Land Tax to end discrimination against longer tenancies.

– Ends –

Ref:  MR 20/10

Date: 02 March 2020

Notes for Editors:

Click here to watch this short video of TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn, explaining more about the problems of short-term farm business tenancies.

Click here to read the TFA’s submission to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in full

For media enquiries contact Julia Meadows, TFA Communications and Events Co-ordinator on 0118 930 6130 or 07887 777157.


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