MP backs a Bill that would exempt buildings used as plant nurseries from business rates

10th July 2018
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown backs proposals to ensure that the agricultural exemption on business rates applies to all plant nurseries to help farmers wanting to intensify their businesses.
 

Does my hon. Friend agree that the Bill is important for farmers wanting to intensify their businesses, because it will put it beyond doubt that any nursery operation will come under the scope of the exemption?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that good point. We should do all that we can to support our farmers who want to diversify and expand their operations to include growing plants in greenhouses and so on, and they should be able to do so with confidence and in the knowledge that they will not suddenly incur a business rates bill. It is therefore correct that we introduce clarity and put right the wrong that the court case created. As I said, I do not believe that that wrong was ever the intention of Parliament or the Government, and we should provide the sector with confidence that horticultural buildings and nurseries will continue to attract the agricultural exemption that they should rightly have.

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Does my hon. Friend agree that, with Brexit, it will be ever more important that this type of horticultural industry is as competitive as possible? Countries such as Holland and Italy are increasingly competing with our industry, and it is much better to grow food here for phytosanitary, employment and all sorts of other reasons.
I completely agree with my hon. Friend. Again he is absolutely right that, wherever we can, we should be producing food in this country for those reasons.

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