15 September 1998
Farm leaders ask Chancellor for tax relief

By FWi staff

FARM leaders have urged Chancellor Gordon Brown to remember farmers when he draws up plans for the forthcoming Budget.

The last Budget, in July, was at first regarded as farmer-friendly. But the Chancellor slashed MAFFs spending allowance by £135 million just two weeks later.

Now a joint submission from the NFU, the Ulster Farmers Union, and the National Farmers Union of Scotland, has called on the Chancellor to grant farmers tax-relief as a means of alleviating falling farm incomes.

The unions annual letter to the Chancellor, accompanied by a lengthy memorandum, asks for tax relief on on-farm environmental improvements and VAT reductions to improve competitiveness.

The letter calls for practical options for retirement and recognition that many farmers now receive an increasing amount of their income from off-farm activities.

It also calls for fuel duty to be frozen and for farmers to be granted relief from inheritance tax.

NFU President Ben Gill said the measures would not solve the problems faced by farmers. But he added that it tax relief would “at least make a contribution towards a solution.”

Officials at the Ulster Farmers Union said hard-pressed farmers would be unable to reinvest in their businesses unless tax relief was granted.

A spokesman for the National Farmers Union of Scotland said fuel taxes were having a detrimental affect on those living in rural areas. Fuel duty should be frozen at least until the issue of rural transport was addressed, he added.