You can now apply for BPS

Good morning everyone, I’m sure this is the great news that you’ve all been waiting for! You can now apply for BPS online. Actually, this is good news as it gives you plenty of time to start well ahead of the 15th May deadline.

If you are looking for further information about applying for BPS you can find all the info you need by clicking here.

Please note that this year there are changes to the following rules:

  • Active farmer
  • Young farmer
  • Greening

Other things to note…

Countryside Stewardship

Apply for the Countryside Stewardship (CS) Arable Offer. If you apply after you’ve submitted your BPS 2018 application, your BPS online receipt will contain information about the CS Arable Offer. Find out more about the Arable Offer or request a pre-application pack on GOV.UK.

Rural Payments service – view your hedges

You can see information about any hedges that have been mapped on your land parcels in the Rural Payments service.

Add land by email

You can add land to your business by sending an email to RPA. For more information read Add land to your business section on their website.



Budget Summary

Perhaps old news to some, but a good summary of what was mentioned in the Budget and some handy tips can be found on the Ellacotts website, extract below taken directly from their page:

2018 tax rates & proposed changes at a glance

Personal Taxation – 2018/19

  • Income tax – 20/40% rates with the basic rate band up to £34,500 in 2018/19 with personal allowances up to £11,850, so taxpayers hit the 40% rate if income exceeds £46,350 (£45,000 in 2017/18) but lose their personal allowance if income exceeds £100,000.

  • National Insurance contributions (NICs) – Continues with rates of 12/2% for employees and self-employed rates (Class 4 NICs) continue at 9%/2% from April 2018

  • Property income – Interest relief was restricted for residential buy-to-lets (excluding furnished holiday lettings) from April 2017 and down to basic rate (20%) by April 2020. Rent-a-room relief has been increased to £7,500pa and ‘wear & tear’ allowances were abolished from 6 April 2016.

  • Dividend income – Dividend tax started on 6 April 2016 with a rate of 7.5% above £5,000pa, 32.5% for higher rate taxpayers & 38.1% for income above £150,000pa. However, the £5,000 tax-free dividend allowance will reduce to £2,000 from April 2018.

  • Capital Gains Tax – The main tax rate is 20% for higher rate taxpayers (top slice only) & down to 10% for basic rate taxpayers from 6 April 2016, except 28% for residence sales.  Entrepreneurs’ Relief continues with tax rate of 10% for lifetime gains of £10 million per individual with 10% relief extended to individuals on private trading company shares held for over 3 years.

  • Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) relief – Limit up to £2m (from £1m) for tech. companies.

  • Inheritance Tax – Nil rate band frozen at £325,000 until 2021 but the exemption extended from April 2017 for family homes. Exemption for pension funds transferred on death before age 75.

  • ISA allowances – Limit kept at £20,000pa.

  • Pensions tax relief – Higher rate tax relief to be restricted for income in excess of £150,000pa. Contribution tax relief is capped at £40,000pa but was reduced to £10,000pa from 6 April 2016.

  • Company cars & vans:

    • Car benefits up to 37% of the list price for cars with CO2 emission of more than 75g/km from 2017.

    • Diesel supplement up to 4% from 3%. Car fuel scale charge £23,400 from April 2018 (vans =£633)



BPS Update!

It’s been a little while since I wrote about BPS, but I’m sure it won’t be long until we’re scratching our heads about the 2018 forms… I find once we get through Christmas it soon comes round! There is a new blog that has been produced by the gov and so it will be worth signing up to that if you want to keep abreast of what’s going on. You can access that here:

There has also been a new PDF booklet produced called ‘An update on the Basic Payment Scheme’ which you can access in full here:,4IB0,24TEJI,HL0U,1

This booklet talks about:

  • BPS payments 2017
  • Important updates about greening
  • Cross compliance update
  • Preparing for BPS 2018

So well worth a look!



Countryside Stewardship Update for those already in Agreements

Info below taken from the .gov site for Countryside Stewardship exsisting agreements which can be accessed here:

Changes to the payment split for multi-year grants

You’ll now get 75% of your annual grant as an advance payment. You’ll get the remaining 25% as a final payment (subject to any penalties or reductions). The change is effective immediately and includes your 2017 agreement payments.

You don’t need to do anything, Natural England will adjust your payments for you. There are no changes to how and when you make a claim.

New Manuals

Natural England will write to you if you have an exsisting  Mid Tier or Higher Tier agreement with 1st January 2016 or 1st January 2017 start date to let you know about the new manuals.  You can access the new manuals here:



First UK base rate rise in a decade

All info below taken directly from Lloyds Bank Rapid Response email:

The Bank of England delivered its first hike in interest rates since July 2007, increasing Bank Rate by 0.25% to 0.50% ­– a move that was widely expected by financial markets. The voting record showed that seven of the MPC members supported the move, slightly more than had been generally expected, with internal members Ramsden and Cunliffe voting instead to keep interest rates unchanged, thus, delivering a 7-2 split.
As expected, the Inflation Report projections included a further downgrade to the growth profile. GDP growth for 2017 was lowered to 1.6% from 1.7% in August, but this was largely due to the impact of recent revisions to GDP history – particularly to GDP growth in 2016. Further out, the projected growth profile was little changed with growth in 2018 unrevised at 1.6%, while its forecast for 2019 was lowered to 1.7% from 1.8% previously.
Yet, despite the downward revision to growth, the inflation projections over the forecast horizon were broadly unchanged. The near-term profile for CPI inflation was revised up to reflect the above-expectations outturns in recent months and the Bank’s updated views that CPI will move above 3% in the coming months. Meanwhile, inflation at the 2yr and 3yr horizon continued to reflect an overshoot relative to the 2% target. This modest re-working of the inflation outlook suggests that the Bank continues to acknowledge that it has underestimated the initial speed of the feed-through from the post-referendum decline in sterling.
This updated inflation profile is conditioned on two further rate hikes over the next three years. This, on the face of it, would suggest that the Bank may need to raise rates by more than the markets are currently expecting. The Bank has explicitly acknowledged this in previous Inflation Reports. However, the absence of such a statement on this occasion delivered a more dovish outcome to today’s meeting than was expected.
Overall, the MPC’s take on the outlook for the UK has not substantively changed. The economy is expected to remain relatively resilient, while disappoint productivity growth will continue to see the limited amount of spare capacity that exists in the economy, to be used up relatively soon, necessitating further increases in interest rates over the forecast horizon. Beyond the first hike, the prospect for future increases will rest largely on how the UK’s supply potential reacts relative to demand. Ongoing signs of weak productivity, relatively subdued business investment and signs of diminished slack in the labour market suggest that any increases in economic capacity are likely to lag behind demand. As a result, we expect the MPC to sanction a further quarter-point rise in the Q3 2018. Nikesh Sawjani UK Economist



November Key Dates

I know I talk about the FAS a lot but they are really informative! Very quick post today with a round up on November’s key dates which were sent to me via FAS:

FAS provides free, confidential advice on cross compliance and the greening requirements, some aspects of the Water Framework Directive (including silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil (SSAFO) and waste exemptions) and the Sustainable Use (of pesticides) Directive. To get in contact, please call 03000 200 301 (select the option for FAS), or email

1 November You can burn heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium on land, other than in upland areas, from this date. (GAEC* 6)
30 November If you have a two-part tariff agreement for your water abstraction licence, expect to receive your second part charge after 30 November. (GAEC 2)

*GAEC = Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition

For more detail on the information provided in the key dates table, please go to the relevant section of ‘The guide to cross compliance in England 2017’ and ‘Basic Payment Scheme: rules for 2017’.