Budget delight for machinery investment welcomed by Norfolk firms

Ben Turner, managing director of Norwich agricultural machinary firm Ben Burgess, where they attatch the Datatag system to tractors and farming equipment to help deter theft. Ben Turner, managing director of Norwich agricultural machinary firm Ben Burgess, where they attatch the Datatag system to tractors and farming equipment to help deter theft.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
3:28 PM

Farmers and agricultural dealers have welcomed the doubling of annual investment allowances to £500,000 as “wonderful news.”

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Ben Turner, managing director of Norwich-based agricultural engineers Ben Burgess & Co, said that it was “absolutely wonderful news.”

“Some people have already spent their £250,000 and with a top-of-the-range self-propelled potato harvester costing than £500,000 this will really a difference.

“We’re very pleased and excited. It is an excellent step,” he added.

Former Suffolk farmers’ leader John Collen, of Gisleham, near Lowestoft, said that the increase was “great news, really good news.”

“It gives us confidence to invest in new equipment. For many it will be the deciding factor. It is a make or break decision. This will be the catalyst for making those sort of investment decisions.”

With a new sugar beet harvesting costing almost £530,000, it would encourage farmers and contractors to replace existing machinery. Mr Collen, who is a former chairman of Suffolk National Farmers’ Union, had just bought a second-hand beet harvester.

Tony Nicholson, who is a director of an award-winning JCB dealership, Stalham Engineering, said that the Budget was “great news.”

He said that several customers had told him that they had already spent the maximum £250,000. Mr Nicholson said that with the latest 310hp Fastrac costing about £175,000, this would encourage investment.

It also has a further advantage that this would be a boost for a long-established British company, based in Staffordshire, which launched the Fastrac range in 1991.

He said sold four Fastracs in the past three weeks. “We’re also selling JCB loading shovels for grain and sugar beet which have a retail price of about £135,000,” said Mr Nicholson, whose family firm won JCB’s top dealer award two years ago.

The NFU has been campaigning for an increase in annual investment allowances, which was partly successful two years ago when it was raised to £250,000. In the coalition’s first budget, it was cut to £25,000, which was widely criticised as derisory at the time.

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