CIPFA annual farm statistics show continued decline in number and size of council-owned farms while rents increase

25-02-2014

The 2012/13 CIPFA survey of farms, held by local authorities, has shown a continued decrease in the number of farms owned and hectares held by councils; while also showing a sharp increase in the level of rent received by authorities.

Commenting on the figures CIPFA Director Drew Cullen said:

“This data from local authorities shows clear continuing trends in council owned farms. While the number of farms owned continues to drop significantly, the total area of farm land held isn’t decreasing at the same rate.

“At the same time the amount of income authorities are receiving from their farm holdings in rent has increased significantly and as a whole their farm holdings have, for the past few years, been returning money to local taxpayers in increased revenues.”

The statistics show that in the last year the total number of farms owned by local authorities fell by 164 or 4.9%, while over the past five years, the total number decreased by 469 or 12.9% of the total stock. This figure includes both Equipped Farms and Bare Land Farms.

However, over the same five year period the total size of farms held only dropped by 2.6% or a decrease of 2,977 hectares. In the last year there was a drop of over 1,104 hectares, accounting for a 0.99% decrease in the area of farmland held.

Meanwhile rent per hectare paid to local authorities, for the use of their farms, increased sharply, both over the five year period and in the previous year.

Rent on Equipped Farms increased on average from around £221 per hectare to almost £242 between 2011/12 and 2012/13, an increase of 9.5%. While rent for Bare Land Farms increased from nearly £179 per hectare to just over £204 over the same period, an increase of 14.2%.

This is a continuation of a trend of similar sharp increases over the past five years with rent per hectare on Equipped Farms increasing from just over £203 per hectare to just under £242 between 2008/09 and 2012/13, a percentage increase of 18.9%. While rent for Bare Land Farms increased from just over £153 per hectare to over £204 in the same period, an increase of 33.2%.

Data on the income and expenditure by local authorities on their farms showed that across the whole of England and Wales, and after including capital charges, local authorities are making a surplus from their farm holdings, with a net surplus in 2012/13 of £2.6m.

Ends

Contact: Matthew Patterson

CIPFA Press Office

t 020 7543 5787

e matthew.patterson@cipfa.org

Notes to editors:

1)       Response rate to the CIPFA survey this year was high across England but noticeably low within Wales. This means that though the data here is presented as for whole of England and Wales the application of trends and data to Welsh Authorities should be treated with caution.

2)       Attached to this press notice is an abridged version of the CIPFA council farms statistics.

3)       Tables 1, 2 and 3 below include data on farm size, rents and accounts. (Note: The figures in these tables may not add up to the totals due to rounding.)

Response rates:

 

  Number of Authorities with farms  Number of responding Authorities Response Rate
London Boroughs 1 1 1
English Unitary Authorities 22 18 0.82
English County 24 21 0.88
Councils
Wales 14 4 0.29
Total  61 44 0.72

Table 1: Total Farms, Hectares and Staff Numbers - 5 Year Trend

  2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
Size of Estate (‘000 Hectares) 113.5 113.7 112.5 111.7 110.5
           
Number of Farms:        
Equipped Farms 2615 2341 2434 2319 2218
Bare Land Farms 1020 1048 990 1011 948
           
Estate Management staff:      
Professional Staff (FTE) 84.4 84.9 82.9 82.2 83.1
Clerical Staff (FTE) 25.7 28.8 28.5 26.3 23.6
Total (FTE) 110.1 113.7 111.3 108.4 106.6

Table 2: Average Rents per Hectare - 5 Year Trend

  2008-09  2009-10  2010-11  2011-12 2012-13
  £.p £.p £.p £.p £.p
Equipped Farms 203.2 207.9 216.6 220.69 241.65
Bare Land Farms 153.5 164.8 164.35 178.93 204.41

Table 3

  2008-09  2009-10  2010-11  2011-12  2012-13
  £'000 £'000 £'000 £'000 £'000
           
Direct Income and Expenditure    
Direct Income         
Rent from Holdings ### -21385 -22661 -23828 -24778
Other Rents -1141 -1177 -1890 -1664 -1784
Other Income -1750 -1802 -2112 -1812 -2276
Total ### -24364 -26662 -27304 -28839
           
Direct Expenditure         
Repairs and Maintenance 6092 7103 6146 6760 6854
Rents, Rates, Annuities and Water Charges 967 957 1016 1009 1062
Net Tenant Right Valuations 259 347 305 769 236
Other Expenditure 715 955 1327 1220 1402
Total 8033 9362 8794 9758 9555
           
Direct (Surplus)/(Deficit) ### -15002 -17869 -17546 -19284
           
           
Indirect Income and Expenditure     
Indirect Income         
Total -139 -437 -310 -110 -79
           
Indirect Expenditure       
Estate Management 4219 4459 4470 4679 4756
Support Services Costs 1430 1049 921 896 965
Other Expenditure 313 228 280 217 194
Total 5962 5736 5672 5791 5916
           
Indirect (Surplus)/Deficit 5823 5300 5361 5681 5837
           
           
Revenue Account Net (Surplus)/Deficit    
Direct Income and Expenditure - Surplus ### -15002 -17869 -17546 -19284
Indirect Income and Expenditure - Deficit 5823 5300 5361 5681 5837
           
Net (Surplus)/Deficit - excluding Capital Charges
  -9684 -9702 -12507 -11866 -13447
           
Capital Charges 13733 14114 8632 6935 10776
           
Net (Surplus)/Deficit - including Capital Charges 4049 4412 -3875 -4930 -2671