Category Archives: ARA News

Farming subsidies to continue for extra two years

The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has promised UK farmers that they will receive the same amount of subsidies form the Government as they do from the EU five years after Brexit.

Farmers currently receive around £3 billion a year from the EU in subsidies which are based on the land they manage.

This latest announcement will give them an additional two years to prepare for new payments, which will instead reward farmers for looking after the environment and making land more accessible to the public.

Mr Gove said the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy was “unjust” and “doesn’t really reward efficiency”.

He said that during the transition to the new system the Government would aim to reduce the largest subsidies, with a maximum cap or a sliding scale of reductions and insisted there would be a “smooth path” towards a new way of paying farmers when EU subsidies ended.

During the same conference in Oxford Mr Gove promised that standards in UK farming and husbandry would not be affected post-Brexit by a relaxing of standards, despite what some reports had suggested.

NFU calls for delay to Making Tax Digital

The National Farmers Union (NFU) is calling on HM Revenue & Customs to reconsider its plans for introducing Making Tax Digital, which will require some farmers to keep digital records and submit their VAT returns directly from their financial software by 2019.

HMRC is currently preparing for the first phase of the new regime, which has come to be known as Making VAT Digital (MVD), which will see changes to the VAT regime from 1 April 2019 for any business operating above the VAT threshold of £85,000.

However, Michael Parker, head of tax for the NFU, said that the implementation of the new regime should be delayed as it was more onerous than the current online VAT reporting requirement and unfair to rural businesses who suffer from a poor digital infrastructure.

 “It is suggested by the government that Making Tax Digital proposals will bring business tax into the digital age,” he said.

“However, for many of our members, the digital age has yet to be delivered to them by the Government.”

He is worried that given the complex nature of farm accounting and taxation it might not be possible to find suitably tailored software in time for the start of the new regime.

“The NFU believes that a delay in implementation, combined with substantive pilot tests across a wide range of businesses, is required before MTD for VAT becomes mandatory,” added Mr Parker.

The UK ranks lowest for state pension amongst advanced nations, says OECD

A new report has found that the UK’s State Pension is the least generous of all the most advanced economies in the world.

Research by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has found that full-time workers in the UK do relatively poorly, with the average pensioner expected to receive just 29 per cent of what they earned at work from their state pension – far lower than countries such as France and Germany.

When voluntary private pensions are also included, the average UK pensioner receives 62 per cent of his or her working income, which remains lower than the OECD average of 69 per cent.

In today’s complicated marketplace, professional and impartial advice is paramount when it comes to finding the best solutions to meet your clients’ financial needs.

MT Financial Management is a firm of Chartered Financial Planners that provides independent and unbiased financial planning, investment portfolio management, pension review and trust review services to the clients of Moore Thompson Chartered Accountants and selected professional introducers.

We offer an initial meeting at our cost and with no obligation so that your clients can decide whether they wish to use our services before incurring any costs.

We will agree a fixed fee to provide a review of your clients’ current financial situation so that our experienced and independent financial advisors can determine whether their financial arrangements are appropriate, and recommend areas that need improvement. Of course, our proposals will be comprehensively explained, so your clients can make informed decisions about any suggested changes.

All of our advisors are qualified to Chartered Financial Planner status, providing their high levels of technical knowledge and experience on a fixed cost basis.

As our fees are agreed in advance, we are not tied to promoting particular solutions and can focus on providing the best professional advice.

To find out more about our services, please contact Trevor Wilshire on 01775 717220 or visit www.mtfinman.co.uk

63 per cent of eligible farmers receive BPS payments in early December

With the first payment window now passed in early December, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has now confirmed that more than 54,000 farmers in England have been paid their 2017 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) funding.

The RPA’s figures indicate that around 63 per cent of eligible claimants received their BPS cash between 1 and 6 December.

The RPA has said the value of payments made so far amounts to £850 million, which is about half the total BPS pot for England, according to the NFU.

The RPA has said that at least 90 per cent of claimants – approximately 78,300 out of a total of about 87,000 – should receive their payment by 31 December 2017, with the payment window closing by 30 June 2018.

RPA chief executive Paul Caldwell said: “We are making strong progress against last year’s performance and remain focused on getting remaining payments out as quickly as possible, as I understand how important they are for farmers.”

Average payments this year are worth 25 per cent more than they were in 2016, as a result of increased entitlement values and greening rates, coupled with the favourable BPS exchange rates due to the weakened pound.

The RPA has confirmed that it remains focused on processing payments as quickly as possible.

Take advantage of the latest grant funding opportunities

A grant funding programme which aims to help small businesses grow and diversify could provide a valuable extra revenue stream for our region.

The RDPE Growth Programme (Business Development) is aimed at new or existing small and micro businesses, as well as farmers who want to diversify into non-agricultural activity in a rural area. 

The fund provides grants of up to £170,000 to small businesses that want to grow and create more jobs in the rural economy.

Funding can be used to help pay for:

  • Constructing or improving buildings
  • Buying new equipment and machinery

To find out whether you are eligible please contact grantfunding@mooret.co.uk 

Moore Thompson is dedicated to delivering the services clients need, and more – which is why we have set up a dedicated Grant and Funding Services Team, headed by our Grant Services Manager, Janet Brown.

Janet and our team are here to take care of all the hard work for you – and help to make the grant funding you need a reality.

For more information about the grants available to you, please visit our website www.moorethompson.co.uk, call 01775 711333 or email grantfunding@mooret.co.uk

Half of employees happy to accept rise in Workplace Pension contributions next year

A new study by Aviva has found that 50 per cent of the 2,007 people it surveyed would definitely stay ‘opted in’ to a workplace pension scheme following a rise in minimum contributions.

From April 2018, minimum pension contributions will rise from the current two per cent (typically one per cent employer and one per cent employee) to five per cent (three per cent employee, two per cent employer), followed in April 2019, by another increase to eight per cent (five per cent employee, three per cent employer).

In light of this sudden rise in contributions, roughly a third of employees (34 per cent) said they were unclear on what they would do, while 12 per cent said they were considering leaving the scheme.

Surprisingly, only one in 25 (four per cent) said they would opt out of their workplace pension altogether, showing a growing demand amongst workers to save for their retirement.

In today’s complicated marketplace, professional and impartial advice is paramount when it comes to finding the best solutions to meet your financial needs.

MT Financial Management is a firm of Chartered Financial Planners that provides independent and unbiased financial planning, investment portfolio management, pension review and trust review services to the clients of Moore Thompson Chartered Accountants and selected professional introducers.

We offer an initial meeting at our cost and with no obligation, so that you can decide whether you wish to use our services before incurring any costs.

We will agree a fixed-fee to provide a review of your current financial situation, so that our experienced and independent financial advisors can determine whether the financial arrangements are appropriate, and recommend areas that need improvement. Of course, our proposals will be comprehensively explained, so you can make informed decisions about any suggested changes.

All of our advisors are qualified to Chartered Financial Planner status, providing their high levels of technical knowledge and experience on a fixed cost basis.

As our fees are agreed in advance, we are not tied to promoting particular solutions and can focus on providing the best professional advice.

To find out more about our services, please contact Trevor Wilshire on 01775 717220 or visit www.mtfinman.co.uk.

Take advantage of grant funding opportunities – Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Fund

Is your business located within Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Rutland, North Hertfordshire, Uttlesford, South Holland, South Kesteven, Norfolk or Suffolk? 

If so, you may be able to apply for funding to help you develop a product, or create new jobs.

The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Fund is currently available to support SMEs, where the main business is in or related to the Agri-Tech sector.

The grant is intended to make improvements in agricultural productivity through the introduction of new products or processes. It also encourages enhancements to existing product or processes and energy efficiency.

Eligibility:

  • Farmers, food manufacturers and retailers can apply. This includes sectors such as food processing and food wholesaling, as well as related industries such as process engineering.
  • Businesses involved in technologies which have potential application for the food industry can also apply, as the programme aspires to support innovation and its application to the food industry.

Moore Thompson is dedicated to delivering the services clients need and more – which is why we have set up a dedicated Grant and Funding Services Team, headed by our Grant Services Manager, Janet Brown.

Janet and our team are here to take care of all the hard work for you – and help to make the grant funding you need a reality.

For more information about the grants available to you, please visit our website www.moorethompson.co.uk, call 01775 711333 or email grantfunding@mooret.co.uk

HMRC stops sending statements to those ‘contracted out’

If you ‘contracted out’ of the state pension between 1978 and 1997 you will no longer receive a statement from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that lays out your entitlement.

According to the Financial Times, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) had been due to send a statement to members of private and public sector schemes detailing their ‘contracting out’ agreement by December 2018.

The paper says this will no longer happen following a decision by HMRC to do away with the statements to millions of taxpayers.

HMRC told the Financial Times that: “The change is being made because there have been developments in the provision of pension scheme information since we first started the changes to end contracting-out.”

Those who opted to ‘contract out’ paid less in National Insurance Contributions, meaning their entitlements would be reduced. Therefore, the decision to remove the statement may mean that some taxpayers are unaware of a reduced state pension.

HMRC has said that the ‘check your state pension’ service already includes full details of all national insurance contributions for each year, meaning that no one will lose out.

Despite these claims there are still many experts that fear that the Revenue is cutting corners to save costs, which may impact on those who are unaware or unable to use the ‘check your state pension’ service.

In today’s complicated marketplace, professional and impartial advice is paramount when it comes to finding the best solutions to meet your clients’ financial needs.

MT Financial Management is a firm of Chartered Financial Planners that provides independent and unbiased financial planning, investment portfolio management, pension review and trust review services to the clients of Moore Thompson Chartered Accountants and selected professional introducers.

We offer an initial meeting at our cost and with no obligation, so that your clients can decide whether they wish to use our services before incurring any costs.

We will agree a fixed fee to provide a review of your clients’ current financial situation, so that our experienced and independent financial advisors can determine whether their financial arrangements are appropriate, and recommend areas that need improvement. Of course, our proposals will be comprehensively explained, so your clients can make informed decisions about any suggested changes.

All of our advisors are qualified to Chartered Financial Planner status, providing their high levels of technical knowledge and experience on a fixed cost basis.

As our fees are agreed in advance, we are not tied to promoting particular solutions and can focus on providing the best professional advice.

To find out more about our services, please contact Trevor Wilshire on 01775 717220 or visit www.mtfinman.co.uk.

Defra report calls for focus on public goods rather than direct payments

A new report from Defra’s influential Natural Capital Committee (NCC) has said that the future of farming should focus on public goods and higher animal welfare, rather than direct payments.

The Committee, created to advise the government on its delivery of a 25-year environment plan, has said in its new publication that Brexit was a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a “coherent approach to farming, fisheries and environmental policy”.

Looking at the current system of farm support, it says that it disproportionately supports larger farms, while failing to meet the needs of smaller businesses in the sector – pointing to the fact that “25 per cent of farms capture nearly three-quarters of public subsidies.”

It states: “This in turn means that a large proportion of public funding goes to some of the richest farms in the country, while many smaller farms, including many that are vital elements of our environmental, landscape and rural community heritage, receive relatively little.”

Based upon these findings it has called for an overhaul of the way in which agriculture is publicly funded so that it is concentrated on the “provision of public goods and high animal welfare standards”.

In particular, it lists environmental improvement, biosecurity, poverty reduction and knowledge transfer as areas for support. It also believes that there is “excellent value for money to the taxpayer” from environmental improvements, as opposed to direct farm payments.

The government has already committed to maintaining the overall level of funding to agriculture through to 2022, but the report says that switching towards public funding of public goods could justify an increase in overall funding.

Commenting on the NCC recommendations, Charles Cowap, principal land management lecturer at Harper Adams University, said: “This report puts a toe into farming territory, but only to reaffirm a strong current of opinion – that farmers should only be paid for public goods.

“This may well turn out to be the appropriate way forward, but with new international trade arrangements and all their logistical implications coming sometime soon, my own view is that we have to retain more of an open mind on these questions at this stage.”

Six in ten workers in agriculture are without a pension, according to TUC

Worrying new figures show that as many as six in ten workers in the agricultural sector are not enrolled into any form of pension scheme, according to the TUC.

It believes that many farm workers in the sector are missing out on a decent retirement because they earned less than £10,000 last year, which is the level of earnings at which employers must enrol someone into a workplace pension.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing ranks the top of the industries with the lowest level of pension cover, with around 65 per cent of employees or some 93,000 people not having a pension.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Auto-enrolment has been a great success. But it’s not a case of ‘job done’.

“Millions remain at risk of poverty in retirement because they are saving nothing, or very little, in a pension scheme.

“We urgently need the government to help more low-paid workers join schemes. And ministers must set out a plan for increasing contributions from employers.”

In today’s complicated marketplace, professional and impartial advice is paramount when it comes to finding the best solutions to meet your clients’ financial needs.

MT Financial Management is a firm of Chartered Financial Planners that provides independent and unbiased financial planning, investment portfolio management, pension review and trust review services to the clients of Moore Thompson Chartered Accountants and selected professional introducers.

We offer an initial meeting at our cost and with no obligation, so that your clients can decide whether they wish to use our services before incurring any costs.

We will agree a fixed fee to provide a review of your clients’ current financial situation, so that our experienced and independent financial advisors can determine whether their financial arrangements are appropriate, and recommend areas that need improvement. Of course, our proposals will be comprehensively explained, so your clients can make informed decisions about any suggested changes.

All of our advisors are qualified to Chartered Financial Planner status, providing their high levels of technical knowledge and experience on a fixed cost basis.

As our fees are agreed in advance, we are not tied to promoting particular solutions and can focus on providing the best professional advice.

To find out more about our services, please contact Trevor Wilshire on 01775 717220 or visit www.mtfinman.co.uk.