The NFU says the Chancellors announcement to double the rate ofthe Annual Investment Allowance is welcome news for agriculture but it wouldhave been better if George Osborne had made it a permanent fixture.
In his speech today, Mr Osborne doubled the allowance to 500,000and extended it until 2016 but the NFU says permanence would have helped theindustry better plan for the future.
Despite the reasonably good news on the investment allowance forplant and machinery, any incentives for capital infrastructure investment weresadly lacking in todays budget. This is all the more frustrating given thatfew farming businesses are in a situation to benefit from the continuedreductions in corporation tax. While the Chancellor talks about addingresilience and balance to the economy, farmers need to invest in capital items,and not just plant and machinery, said NFU President Meurig Raymond.
The NFU applauds the governments intention, this autumn, topublish a long-term plan to protect the country from future flooding. Indeed,we highlighted the need for a root and branch review of the governments floodmanagement policy in the NFU Flooding Manifesto. However, it is not yet clearwhether the announcement of 140m of funding to repair and restore flooddefences includes or is in addition to the 130m announced in February.
Also, with a renewed interest in careers in the agri-businesssector, the industry will welcome the extension to apprenticeship grants. Thechallenge for farming will be to get its fair share from the extra 85m thatthe Chancellor has announced.
In other good news, the UK drinks industry will be pleased withvarious measures including freezing duty on Scotch whisky and cider, in whichhe singled out weather affected cidermakers in the West Country.