council-held farms continue to suffer from cuts with reductions in farms

29-01-2015

According to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) annual farm survey, council-held farms have continued to see a decline in the number of farms.

The total number of council-held farms has fallen from 2,532 in 2012/2013 to 2,504 in 2013/2014. This is part of a five year declining trend, with the total number of farms dropping by over 8% since 2009/2010.

The statistics also show a drop in estate management staff, the number of whom has fallen by over 8.5% since 2009-2010 to 84 professional and clerical employees.

Over the past year, average maintenance and repair costs have grown by 10% to just over £3,480 for Equipped farms and by 10% to £65.39 for every hectare in both Equipped and Bare Land farms held by the council.

The average rent per hectare has also risen in Equipped farms but reduced in Bare Land. In Equipped farms in 2013/2014 the figure was £275, this is nearly a 10% increase from £252 in 2011/2012. However, the average rent per hectare in Bare Land farms has decreased for the first time in five years from £212 in 2012/2013 to £200 in 2013/2014.

Commenting on the figures, CIPFA director of public affairs, Drew Cullen said:

“Data on the income and expenditure by local authorities on their farms showed that in England councils made a net surplus in 2013/2014 of £7.1m (including capital charges). It is likely that increases in rent, maintenance costs and a fall in the numbers of farms and staff, are why local authorities have just been able to make this marginal surplus from their farm holdings.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • 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 England only.
  • Attached to this press notice is a version of the CIPFA council farms statistics.
  • The figures in the tables below may not add up to the totals due to rounding.

 

Table 1: Total Farms, Hectares and Staff Numbers - 5 Year Trend - England  
             
    2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Size of Estate (Hectares)   95,917 95,101 94,285 93,266 92,467
             
Number of Farms:            
Equipped Farms         1,886       1,939       1,846       1,757       1,737
Bare Land Farms           837         835         824         775         767
Total Farms         2,723       2,774       2,670       2,532       2,504
             
Estate Management Staff:          
Professional Staff (FTE)          68.1        68.7        68.0        67.8        66.6
Clerical Staff (FTE)          24.3        21.3        19.2        18.2        17.8
Total (FTE)          92.4        90.0        87.2        86.0        84.4

 

 

Table 2: Average Rents per Hectare - 5 Year Trend - England    
             
    2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
    £p £p £p £p £p
Equipped Farms       212.46     220.52     229.19     251.65     274.74
Bare Land Farms       160.44     164.80     187.70     212.07     200.71
             

 

Table 3: Repairs and Maintenance Cost - 5 Year Trend - England    
             
    2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
    £p £p £p £p £p
England            
Cost per equipped farm     3,342.15   2,811.46   2,917.27   3,150.43   3,480.87
Cost per hectare         65.72       57.32       57.12       59.35       65.39

 

           
  2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
  £'000 £'000 £'000 £'000 £'000
Direct Income and Expenditure          
           
Direct Income          
Rent from Holdings   (19,076)   (20,590)   (20,835)   (21,676)   (23,158)
Other Rents    (1,049)    (1,679)    (1,492)    (1,646)    (1,734)
Other Income    (1,780)    (2,103)    (1,747)    (2,238)    (1,631)
           
Total   (21,904)   (24,372)   (24,075)   (25,560)   (26,522)
           
Direct Expenditure          
Repairs and Maintenance      6,303      5,451      5,385      5,535      6,046
Rents, Rates, Annuities and Water Charges        896        967        894      1,014      1,527
Net Tenant Right Valuations        322        305        769        236        233
Other Expenditure        910      1,297      1,152      1,317        548
           
Total      8,431      8,020      8,201      8,102      8,354
           
Direct (Surplus)/Deficit   (13,473)   (16,351)   (15,874)   (17,458)   (18,168)
           
           
Indirect Income and Expenditure          
           
Indirect Income          
Total       (390)       (310)       (109)         (77)       (173)
           
Indirect Expenditure          
Estate Management      4,203      4,206      4,071      4,183      3,773
Support Services Costs        883        825        750        816        731
Other Expenditure        202        280        217        194        215
           
Total      5,288      5,312      5,037      5,193      4,718
           
Indirect (Surplus)/Deficit      4,898      5,001      4,929      5,116      4,545
           
           
Revenue Account Net (Surplus)/Deficit          
           
Direct Income and Expenditure - Surplus   (13,473)   (16,351)   (15,874)   (17,458)   (18,168)
Indirect Income and Expenditure - Deficit      4,898      5,001      4,929      5,116      4,545
           
Net (Surplus)/Deficit - excluding Capital Charges    (8,575)   (11,350)   (10,945)   (12,342)   (13,624)
         
Capital Charges      7,785      7,889      5,921      7,037      6,486
Net (Surplus)/Deficit - including Capital Charges       (791)    (3,461)    (5,024)    (5,305)    (7,137)