April 12 2016, 67% of agricultural land owners and rural property experts believe that the United Kingdom should vote to stay in the EU, according to the latest poll conducted by Carter Jonas, the UK property consultancy.
In a recent series of rural land seminars held by Carter Jonas, 76% of those surveyed held that a vote to leave the EU would have a negative impact on income received from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), the biggest of the European Union’s rural grants and payments that help the farming community. The same 76% thought that income received from the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS), would also decrease.
Tim Jones, Head of the Rural Division at Carter Jonas, said:
“In December, we published a report that considered the impact of a possible Brexit on all sectors of the property industry. However, this is the first opportunity we’ve had to poll, and really gauge the view of our rural clients on the issue.
“Of those polled, 56% thought that the political uncertainty, expected should we vote to leave the EU, would have a negative impact on their businesses.”
When asked whether their estates would be better off out of the EU, 43% of respondents thought that it would not, whilst 34% said that they didn’t know. Just 23% of those polled thought that leaving the EU would have a positive impact on their estates.
In relation to the rural property sector, there has been much debate as to how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will look should there be an exit. However, CAP is not the only subject that should be considered.
When asked how a Brexit would impact on investor demand for agricultural property in the UK, 50% thought that it would have a negative impact, whilst 34% thought that there would be no change.
Mr. Jones continued:
“Should the UK vote to leave the EU, the CAP subsidies will likely be reduced, which will also have an effect on rents for both the Agricultural Holding Act and Farm Business Tenancies.
“In fact many of our clients cited farm rents as an area which would suffer, should trade deal negotiations prove lengthy. This in turn could result in a fall in capital values in the short to medium term, though it is thought that best in class and well located land will continue to increase in value.”
Negativity surrounding a possible Brexit was not universally felt amongst all of Carter Jonas’s clients. The EU’s rural development policy faced criticism from attendees as being poorly targeted and discouraging innovation and new entrants into the industry.
Mr. Jones concluded:
“Whilst the lack of clarity surrounding the outcome of a possible Brexit is likely to become a key feature over the weeks ahead, it should be noted, not all of our clients were fearful of a Brexit scenario.”