Landowners in rural and coastal areas prone to flooding have called for a rethink on the Government’s proposed tax relief designed to incentivise private investment in flood defences.
The Chancellor announced his intention to introduce tax relief for businesses that part-fund government-led flood defence projects and repairs in the Autumn Financial Statement. The CLA which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses has set out its views in a response to the Government consultation on proposed tax relief and written to MPs on the influential EFRA Select Committee calling for an Inquiry into the issue.
CLA Deputy President Ross Murray said: “We know that across the country, farmers and landowners are prepared to take action to protect their land, homes and communities from the risk of flooding. We think many more would do so if they could offset investment they make against tax. It is a low cost way for the Government to further leverage private sector funding for significant public benefit.
“It is frustrating that tax relief announced in the Autumn Statement is far too restrictive. It applies only to private sector funding by businesses of schemes already in receipt of grant-in-aid funding from the Environment Agency. Our proposal is that any business or private individual that invests in approved flood defence projects should qualify for tax relief.
“We will continue to press Ministers to rethink their current proposal and not miss this opportunity to make a substantial difference to the speed at which we get the flood defences we need in place across the country.”
The Government’s proposed tax relief would be enacted in the last Government Finance Bill before the General Election.