1 November 2000
Fuel tax ‘puts farmers out of business’
By FWi staff
EXTORTIONATE fuel taxes are driving farmers out of business, the National Farmers Union told a committee of MPs on Wednesday (01 November).
The high price of diesel is leaving farmers “deeply frustrated and desperate”, NFU president Ben Gill told the Trade and Industry Select Committee.
The MPs are conducting an inquiry into the impact of fuel tax on trade and industry. High diesel prices were the last straw for many farmers, said Mr Gill.
In a statement to the committee, Mr Gill dismissed the idea that farmers are misguided in asking for fuel cuts when they use already use discounted red diesel.
Farmers only use red diesel for off-road machinery and equipment, he said, claiming that the high cost of “white” diesel was having a catastrophic impact.
“Diesel prices standing at two-and-a-half times the European average are a massive barrier to sustainable recovery,” said Mr Gill.
The union is hoping Chancellor Gordon Brown will acknowledge as much in his autumn pre-Budget statement expected next Wednesday (08 November).
It has put in a joint proposal with the Freight Transport Association to cut diesel duty by 15ppl and put a freeze on any further fuel price increases.
They also want reduced road tax for environmentally friendly vehicles, and for foreign lorries to be made to contribute to the upkeep of Britains roads.