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Blair promised to stop spray tax

17 November 2000
Blair ‘promised to stop spray tax’

THE National Farmers Union claims it has been given the personal assurance of Tony Blair that the government will not introduce a tax on pesticides…more…

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    Blair promised to stop spray tax

    17 November 2000
    Blair ‘promised to stop spray tax’

    By Alistair Driver

    THE National Farmers Union claims it has been given the personal assurance of Tony Blair that the government will not introduce a tax on pesticides.

    NFU president Ben Gill said on Friday (17 November) that he had been told privately by the Prime Minister that there will be no pesticide tax.

    That assurance had been echoed by agriculture minister Nick Brown and environment minister Michael Meacher, Mr Gill told reporters in London.

    Mr Gill accused Chancellor Gordon Brown of failing to consult the Department of the Environment over voluntary proposals to curb pesticide use.

    The Chancellor said in his pre-Budget report last week that industry proposals for voluntary controls were not satisfactory and a tax was still being considered.

    But Mr Gill said: “Ive been told privately by Prime Minister Tony Blair, Michael Meacher and Nick Brown that there will be no pesticide tax.”

    He added: “That is three against one.”

    Mr Gill also referred to a report released this week by Lord Haskins, which said that environmental red tape was strangling British farming.

    The NFU leader hit out at a “fundamentally flawed” EU nitrate directive which aims to reduce the environmental impact of fertiliser applications.

    “This is a classic example of a regulation from Brussels that has little support, but that will have continuing huge cost implications for farmers and seriously affect their ability to compete,” said Mr Gill.

    The original reasons for banning nitrates, including the believe that they are carcinogenic, had been shown by research to be a false, he added.

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