NFU says Government u-turn on new taxes a "boost" for rural economy

Government plans to drop the 10% tax hike on cider have been described by the NFU as a "huge boost for the rural economy."

The Government was this week forced to abandon a number of new tax measures to fast-track the Finance Act through Parliament before it dissolves in the run up to the General Election on May 6.

The duty increase will now only last until the end of June - unless Labour wins the election in which case it will be reinforced.

Government has also dropped controversial measures repealing the favourable tax treatments many farmers and growers have benefited from under the Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHL) rules.

NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond said: "News that these two measures are being dropped is a huge boost for the rural economy. The NFU has been fighting for over a year to prevent the unfair and disproportionate repeal of the FHL rules. We have been working with MPs from all parties, and with our colleagues in the tourism industry, to press home that a complete repeal of the beneficial rules would be extremely damaging to the rural economy.

 "Finally, at the eleventh hour, it seems our calls have been heeded, and we're grateful to those who have helped us secure this victory for common sense. We will reserve final judgement until we have seen the detail of the new changes but we are confident that the new regime will allow most farmers who provide catering accommodation under the FHL rules to continue to do so unhindered. And we will continue to work hard to make sure the new tax framework for FHL providers is fair and continues to promote the rural economy and help farmers and growers who have diversified into this important area.

 "The NFU is also extremely pleased to see that Government plans to disproportionately increase duty on cider will be short-lived and will expire on June 30. There was widespread opposition to the move from both the cider industry and consumers.

 "The prospect that both the FHL repeal and the cider duty increase may return remains very real, depending on the result of the election. I would urge NFU members to raise these issues with prospective parliamentary candidates."



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