Thursday, 19 May 2016 05:32

Referendum uncertainty for rural economy

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Referendum uncertainty for rural economy

The forthcoming UK referendum on EU membership is contributing to uncertainty for the rural economy, says a report.

A protracted slump in farm commodity prices, an ever-changing property-tax regime and a raft of new planning legislation are also creating uncertainty for farms and estates, it says.

The warning is contained in the spring 2016 Rural Report published by property consultants and land agents Knight Frank.

"In a matter of weeks the UK electorate will be taking its biggest political decision in living memory – voting to either leave the EU or remain a member," it says.

"Since the date of the referendum was announced, we have been assailed by a non-stop barrage of arguments from the In and Out camps.

"To add to the uncertainty, the referendum comes at a time when farming remains in the grip of an on-going commodity price slump."

The report says the dairy sector has been particularly hard hit by the price slump – and concerns are rising about the general health of the global economy.

The tax environment for the rural landowner in the UK is also becoming more challenging, particularly for those who are domiciled elsewhere, it adds.

But uncertainty presents opportunities as well as challenges, says James Del Mar, Knight Frank's head of rural consultancy.

While some see it as a threat to their very existence, others view pent up demand for new housing and infrastructure as an opportunity to unlock the potential of their land.

The full report can be viewed here.

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