FARMErs were among the Budget winners as the Chancellor announced tax changes for the rural economy.
George Osborne handed those Conservatives seeking to shore up a rural vote a boost when he revealed farmers will be able to average their tax bills over five years, meaning the Treasury will have to make adjustments when weather or disease strike.
Mr Osborne said: “The fall in food prices is good for families; but it reminds us of the challenge our farmers face from volatile markets.
“The National Farmers Union have long argued they should be allowed to average their incomes for tax purposes over five years; I agree and in this Budget we will make that change.”
Environment secretary Elizabeth Truss said that over 29,000 farmers will benefit from the change, which comes into effect in April 2016, with an average gain of £950 a year.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “We are very pleased that Mr Osborne said that he had listened to the arguments by the NFU and will allow farmers to average their incomes over five years. Farmers are increasingly facing a volatile marketplace and this will enable them to manage the impacts of this.”
He added: “While we appreciate the need to roll out ultra-fast broadband of up to 1k Mbps throughout the UK, we must not forget those rural communities who have yet to reap the benefits of a decent speed for broadband and might only get a basic legal entitlement of 5 Mbps with subsidised satellite services. Rural communities will be pleased to see that fuel duty will not rise.”