What impact will the Labour Government have on the agriculture sector?

By Andrew Heskin, Partner and ARA specialist

The farming industry is bracing itself for the winds of change after the General Election saw the Labour Party sweep into power.

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has appointed Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner as the new Farming Minister, joining Defra Secretary Steve Reed in the leadership team for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Daniel Zeichner brings extensive experience to his new role, having served as Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and previously as Shadow Minister for Transport.

His commitment to food security, environmental quality, and animal welfare suggests that these areas will be a focus under the new Labour Government.

Farmers can expect policies aimed at improving animal health and welfare, alongside measures to enhance food security.

Labour’s commitments and financial ambiguities

Labour’s manifesto promises to champion British farming and protect the environment, highlighting food security as a key concern.

However, unlike the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, Labour did not specify an increase in the agricultural budget.

This omission has left many in the farming community uncertain about future financial support.

One of the more contentious proposals is Labour’s plan to eradicate bovine TB without continuing the badger cull.

This policy has raised concerns among farmers about its effectiveness in protecting livestock and livelihoods.

Positive signals in procurement and trade

Despite some ambiguities, Labour’s manifesto includes several positive initiatives. The pledge to ensure that half of all public sector food procurement is locally produced or meets higher environmental standards could benefit local farmers.

Additionally, Labour’s commitment to a trade strategy that protects UK farmers from low-standard imports aims to strengthen the farming sector amid ongoing trade issues.

Labour’s plan to negotiate better trade terms with the EU, including a new veterinary agreement, is also noteworthy. This could ease export barriers and foster smoother trade relations post-Brexit.

Infrastructure and rural development

Labour’s plans for rural development include:

  • Establishing Great British Energy, a public company to invest in clean power
  • Reforming planning to improve rural housing
  • Enhancing flood defences and accelerating rural broadband rollout
  • Implementing a new rural crime strategy

These initiatives aim to address some of the critical infrastructure needs in rural areas, potentially benefiting farmers by improving living conditions and farming operations.

Our team of agricultural accountancy experts is here to help you understand and adapt to these new policies. Whether it’s managing tax implications, securing funding, or planning for future investments, we can provide the guidance you need to stay ahead.

For personalised advice and support, contact us today. Let’s work together to ensure your farm thrives under the new Labour Government’s policies.