Rural welcome for autumn statement

The chancellor's autumn statement last week has been broadly welcomed as benefiting rural industries.

NFU president Peter Kendall said it contained signals that the Government recognised the role farming and food sectors can play in stimulating economic recovery.

He cited the food and drink export action plan, a March summit aimed at boosting innovation in small agri-food businesses and the appointment of a food and drink business ambassador.

However, Kendall expressed disappointment that the NFU's call to reconsider the cut in the Annual Investment Allowance had not been heeded.

The chancellor also announced a consultation on allowing redundant farm buildings to be converted to other business purposes. A £20m Community Rural Broadband Fund to provide fast internet access to remoter was also unveiled.

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