29 May 1998

CAMPAIGNAGAINSTUNFAIRTAX

ARE you appalled by the prospect of a tax on crop inputs? Does the thought of paying 125% duty on every pack of pesticide and every bag of fertiliser fill you with dread?

If the answer is yes, why not back farmers weeklys "Just say NO" campaign?

Our aim is to convince government, and environment minister Michael Meacher in particular, that this tax is unfair, unscientific and unjustified.

Trying to reduce the environmental impact of inputs by taxing them out of the farmers reach is a crude, shortsighted strategy. There is little to suggest it would benefit the environment, yet it would do untold damage to UK agriculture.

Environmental protection is already top of the farming agenda, with pesticide use particularly well regulated. Tax plans suggest those regulations are not up to scratch and the Pesticides Safety Directorate is not doing its job properly. Yet it clearly is. It is the envy of Europe.

In the fertiliser sector the story is similar. Farmers already work within official recommendations; many cut rates further in their drive for efficiency. New computerised advice packages are set to help them do that even more efficiently. A tax would render all that effort pointless.

With farm profits already under severe pressure an input tax would erode them still further. So why not take a few seconds now to complete the attached coupon and mail it to farmers weekly. It could have a big impact on your farms future profitability.

&#8226 Responses to our "Just say NO" campaign will be presented to Mr Meacher in early July.

AT CEREALS 98

IF PLANS for an input tax appal you why not visit the farmers weekly stand at Cereals 98? As well as collecting responses for our "Just Say NO" campaign we also want to hear your individual views. Can you put a figure on the possible impact of such a tax on your farm? Or, on a more positive note, can you tell us how you are already working hard to protect the environment while making sensible use of fertiliser and pesticide inputs? We look forward to seeing you.