Duty rise adds to fuel bills

Farmers and rural people face higher fuel bills this autumn as the government’s delayed duty increase comes into effect today (1 October).

The increase, announced by the previous chancellor back in April, will add 1p/litre to petrol and white diesel, plus an extra 0.19p/litre onto red diesel. It comes at a time of firmer crude oil prices and rising costs elsewhere in farming businesses – notably fertiliser and feed.

Crude oil prices had increased to $78 a barrel by mid-week, up from just over $72 a barrel at the end of August. But, red diesel has remained relatively stable, hovering around 50p/litre over recent weeks.

“Prices have gone up and down a bit as they’ve followed economic news, but generally there hasn’t been a lot of change,” said Nick Adamson from Oxfordshire fuel distributors Ackerman & Niece.

But, the Farmers’ Union of Wales slammed “punitive” fuel duty rates for hitting farmers and other rural people hardest, and it called for a tax rebate for those living in rural areas.

“Rural dwellers are being ripped off by such huge fuel costs,” FUW president Gareth Vaughan said.

According to the latest AA fuel price report, Wales and Northern Ireland had the highest fuel prices last month, with road diesel averaging 118.7p/litre and unleaded petrol almost 116p/litre.

Although prices had fallen for the fourth month in a row, the report said an increase in wholesale prices, combined with the duty increase, threatened to reverse that trend. Petrol was 9p/litre dearer than a year ago, the report said.

Let us know what you’re paying for red diesel and other inputs by taking part in the Farmers Weekly/NFU Inputs Price Monitor. The anonymous survey is quick to complete and will let you see how the prices you are paying fit with the national picture. Go to www.fwi.co.uk/IPM