Plant nurseries will remain exempt from business rates

DCLG minister Marcus Jones has announced that he will be taking measures to amend rating legislation to ensure nursery growers are exempt from business rates under agricultural exemption rules.

A NFU member mushroom grower lost a Court of Appeal case on the issue in 2015 on whether his nursery qualified for an agricultural exemption, which have been in place since at least 1928.

The NFU believed this was not what Parliament intended which "would have damaging widespread implications for nursery growers and the wider horticultural industry" and could have forced growers out of business.

The NFU, with support from the HTA, ratings advisor Turner Morum and the Ornamentals Round Table has been campaigning with Defra and DCLG for the exemption to be reinstated and has now seen success in their lobbying.

Jones said in a written statement to Parliament on 30 March: "Since at least 1928, plant nursery grounds have been treated by the Valuation Office Agency as exempt from business rates as part of the general exemption for agriculture. However, following a recent Court of Appeal decision, the Valuation Office Agency has started to bring into business rates buildings at nursery grounds including structures such as poly-tunnels.

"The exemption for agricultural properties is an important part of the rating system. It ensures that large areas of agricultural land and buildings are not liable to a property tax which could have a significant impact on the cost of farming. I can confirm to the House that the Government’s policy is that land and buildings at plant nursery grounds should benefit from the agricultural exemption for business rates.

"Therefore, we intend at the soonest opportunity to amend the Local Government Finance Act 1988 to ensure both agricultural land and buildings at plant nursery grounds are exempt from business rates. This will return the law to align with the practice followed by the Valuation Office Agency before the decision in the Court of Appeal."

NFU president Meurig Raymond welcomed Jones' statement "and his recognition of the importance of the exemption to the industry at this time of uncertainty".

HTA horticulture head Raoul Curtis-Machin said: "We are delighted with this result, and this is thanks to the NFU, HTA and Ornamental Round Table group for their lobbying efforts. Hopefully this will put an end to the sleepless nights some growers have been having."

But he said there was still a "job to do" in Scotland with some garden centre rate rises almost doubling rate bills compared to similar sites across the border.

 


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Phygelius

Phygelius

Masses of colourful tubular flowers can give these plants a substantial presence in the border, says Miranda Kimberley.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Climbing roses

Climbing roses

Walls, trellises, pergolas and even trees can all be brightened up by these beautiful blooms, writes Miranda Kimberley.


Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Accurate figures are notoriously difficult to get at, but without doubt the UK imports a great deal of its ornamental plant requirement.

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Welcome to this bumper 72-page July edition of Horticulture Week magazine, packed with exclusive analysis, insight and expert advice on the biggest issues impacting all sectors of the UK horticulture industry right now.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production
 

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles