Labour scrapping tax relief would 'devastate' agriculture industry

Labour would leave the farming industry 'devastated' if it fails to retain an inheritance tax relief on agricultural land, the Environment Secretary has warned.

While the Tories have promised to protect farmers from paying death duties on their farms through Agricultural Property Relief, Sir Keir Starmer's manifesto does not.

The relief is worth around £1billion to farmers each year. Without it, the average UK farm could be faced with an inheritance tax bill of £600,000, the Tories said.

The party warned that dragging farms into inheritance tax would put the UK's food security at risk, as more farms would be broken up or forced to close.

Last night Steve Barclay, the Environment Secretary, said he was 'appalled' by the omission in Labour's manifesto, and warned that Sir Keir would 'cut our farmers off at the knees'.

labour scrapping tax relief would 'devastate' agriculture industry

Steve Barclay (pictured) said he was 'appalled' by the omission in Labour's manifesto, and warned that Sir Keir would 'cut our farmers off at the knees'

Accusing Labour of launching a raid on farming families, he said: 'Labour would cut our farmers off at the knees, leaving the farming industry devastated.

'Keir Starmer has demonstrated that he doesn't care about farmers, rural communities, domestic food security - or indeed anyone outside of his London bubble.

'I am appalled that he thinks it is acceptable to not pledge a single penny to agriculture and to raid farming families' bank accounts by £600,000 each to help fill his £38.5billion financial black hole.

'It's the same old Labour, treating rural communities with contempt. A vote for anyone other than the Conservatives is a vote for Keir Starmer. To protect our farmers and our rural way of life, vote Conservative.'

The Tory manifesto pledges to retain 'key tax incentives that encourage small businesses to grow' - including Agricultural Property Relief and Business Relief.

But while Labour promises to 'champion British farming whilst protecting the environment', they do not match the inheritance tax relief commitment.

The Tories said family farms would be hit with a £600,000 inheritance tax bill if both Agricultural Property Relief and Business Relief were scrapped and they were taxed in the same way as other assets. They based the figure on the average farm worth £2million.

Last year it was reported that shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves was considering tightening inheritance tax rules.

Along with the agricultural relief, Labour was also said to be looking at ending business relief for inheritance tax - which can exempt some duties on shares, land, machinery and a business or interest in a business.

Both measures were estimated to raise £1.5 billion a year, according to The Times.

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