13 September 2001
Union asks for help in Budget

By FWi staff

THE NFU has asked Chancellor Gordon Brown to help farmers hit by foot-and-mouth rebuild their businesses in his autumn Budget.

The NFU wants him to introduce capital allowances of 100% for plant and machinery and 25% for buildings.

This would help farmers identify new ways to structure their businesses, union deputy president Tim Bennett said.

High fuel duties should be frozen and biofuels exempt from duty if the Government is serious about encouraging the use of environmentally-friendly fuel, he said.

The proposed Climate Change Levy threatens to cost jobs and make Britain uncompetitive with growers abroad, he warned.

This needs to be either withdrawn or restructured.

He also called for a more integrated policy on other environmental legislation, such as the landfill and aggregates tax.

These are often very costly to implement in the farming sector and put further pressure on an already damaged industry, he said.

In a letter to Mr Brown, Mr Bennett says: “Farming has been in recession for five years and this situation has been exacerbated by the advent of foot-and-mouth.

“The epidemic, coupled with low prices and a damaging exchange rate, has already driven too many farmers to the wall.

“Many who are trying to diversify are finding that further tax liabilities on land and buildings prevent them from gaining an essential alternative source of income.

Economic incentives need to be increased and recognition given to those working to compete.”