10 September 1999

CLAwarns of closures if energy tax comes in

THE Country Landowners Association has warned that the governments plans for an energy tax could be the final straw for many businesses already struggling to survive.

Proposed tax

The organisation claims that the proposed tax, which is aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels, will have a disproportionate impact on the agricultural sector.

It says the tax is designed to be neutral to employers by decreasing their National Insurance contributions. But, because agriculture is an intensive energy user and employs relatively few people, it will hit farm businesses particularly hard.

The CLA also insists that, if a tax is introduced, it should apply across the whole of Europe.

A spokesman said: "The CLA believes that any unilateral UK levy will have an unfair impact on our agriculture and other primary production.

If a levy is required, it must be introduced on an EU-wide basis to safeguard UK economic interests by ensuring that all our major trading partners are subjected to the same costs."

He added that, instead of imposing a tax, government should consider expanding renewable energy sources and increasing tree planting.