The Scottish Government and NFU Scotland are calling on Westminster for a fairer deal on fuel for farmers and crofters through the introduction of a fuel duty regulator.
The SNP, together with Plaid Cymru, has criticised the Chancellor’s Finance Bill for failing to address the issue of rising fuel costs.
They said they supported a halt to plans for a further 3p hike in fuel prices, due to come into force in August, and said they would campaign for a fuel duty regulator to stabilise prices in the long term.
Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Fuel costs are a real burden for farmers and crofters, contributing to rising costs of goods such as feed and fertiliser as well as the cost of getting livestock to and from market.
“Measures brought forward so far by the UK Government have been inadequate and have been more than offset by a sharp increase in prices.
“That’s why we’ve repeatedly called for the UK Government to make fuel duty fairer, through the introduction of a fuel duty regulator to reduce the rate of duty when wholesale prices rise.”
NFU Scotland joined Mr Lochhead in his calls for a fuel duty regulator, and said it would make a major difference to small businesses and rural communities at a relatively low cost.
A spokesperson for the union said: “NFU Scotland is very concerned about the rising cost of fuel and its effect on rural businesses and communities. This is being felt most acutely in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, where public transport is severely limited and fuel prices are among the highest in the UK.
“Not only do Scottish farmers and others living and working in rural communities have to pay higher fuel prices for their own vehicles, they are also hostage to haulage and other delivery costs. The cost of transporting the inputs of feed, fertiliser and fuel is so high, as is the cost of delivering produce to the market, that it is putting Scotland’s already fragile rural communities at a competitive disadvantage with other EU producers.”
Fuel prices in Inverness-shire
|Diesel Engine Road Vehicle (DERV) fuel||145.9ppl||140ppl||117ppl||95.4ppl|
|Kerosene||63.9ppl||57ppl (was 66ppl in Jan)||48ppl||38ppl|
Fuel prices in Aberdeenshire
June 2008 Diesel Enging Road Vehicle (DERV) fuel
128.9ppl Red diesel
66.88ppl Heating oil
59.99ppl *Crude oil