THE FUW and Aberconwy MP Guto Bebb have joined forces to discuss the challenges facing Welsh farmers and called for flexible tax payments in the current dairy and lamb price crisis.
Whilst recent announcements of increases in the price paid by some supermarkets for liquid milk are welcome, they only deal with a small portion of the market place. “We had a very productive meeting and continued to stress that current price levels are not sustainable,” said FUW president Glyn Roberts. “Mr Bebb has agreed to write to Defra minister George Eustice to see what short term support the sector can be offered whilst a longterm strategy is developed.” The union welcomed the Chancellor’s decision to extend farmers averaging for tax purposes from two years to five and – in a bid to help cash-struck farmers further – is now calling on farmers to ask their accountants whether the concession could be used to protect their cash-flow. “Farmers affected by the volatility in the market place are advised to speak to their accountants to see if the concessions can be used to help their cash-flow,” said Mr Roberts. “In addition Mr Bebb has agreed to write to HM Customs and Revenue requesting that the ‘Time to Pay’ concession be invoked for the farming community.” Mr Bebb, who welcomed the opportunity to meet the FUW, said: “Farmers want to pay their due and if tax is owing it will be paid. “However, the extreme price falls seen across dairy and lamb markets means that many farmers, expected to pay their back taxes in two annual instalments, are facing real cash-flow challenges in meeting their obligations. “I have written to HM Customs and Revenue asking them to offer flexible time to pay agreements to ensure that farmers meet their obligations without putting any undue short-term pressures on their cash-flows.” Mr Roberts added: “Current marketplace volatility has left many producers struggling to stay afloat and the union has received calls from members extremely worried about the future viability of their businesses. “Whilst the FUW will continue to call for a fairer supply chain and measures to manage over supply, it is also imperative that we try to find immediate solutions to halt the number of farmers going out of business. “The use of more flexible agreements could go some way to help mitigate the low returns being experienced by Welsh sheep and dairy farmers.”