måndag 25 februari 2019

Post Brexit agriculture

Uplands farming seems to be most at risk from Brexit. The land will not, of course disappear. The uplands, and, indeed, the landscape as a whole, should be regarded as a national resource which needs to be managed for a variety of objectives.
  • to maintain, and preferably increase, opportunities to earn livelihoods; 
  • to enhance its aesthetic value; 
  • to enhance its biological diversity so as to support native species; 
  • to protect downstream areas from flooding; to make a contribution to the carbon sink; 
  • sustainability. 

This needs to be done is such a way as to ensure that the enhanced rental values resulting from public investment are efficiently recovered for the exchequer. Although the sums of money involved are relatively small, this strengthens the case for land value taxation on agricultural land. However, it should not be forgotten that present taxation gives rise to an artificial margin where land which could support economic activity in the absence of tax cannot do so if such activity is subject to taxation. In these situations, tax is the deal-breaker.

The question that arises is whether DEFRA is up to the task.

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