THE FARMERS Union of Wales says that soaring fuel prices will smother the first delicate green shoots of economic recovery seen on some farms.

It is calling on Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to cut fuel tax to offset the impact of volatile world oil prices on farming‘s production costs.

A cut of 10pa litre would at least bring UK prices in line with competitors in the rest of the EU, it says.

Gareth Vaughan, FUW president, warned that fragile farm businesses cannot withstand a damaging rise in the cost of transporting materials in both directions through farm gates.

Inevitably, people living and working in rural areas are most vulnerable to fuel price hikes, he said.

The victims include socially important small garages shops and newsagents as well as farmers, hauliers and motorists.

The effect on rural communities of hardship caused by past fuel price increases were severe. 

“The government must stave off any risk to jobs and the economy by cutting fuel tax immediately,” said Mr Vaughan.