1 November 1999
Pesticide tax to figure in Budget
By Donald MacPhail
THE Treasury is keeping tight-lipped over reports that plans for a pesticide tax are to be scrapped.
But a spokeswoman has revealed that the pesticide tax issue will almost certainly feature in when Chancellor Gordon Brown makes his pre-budget statement next Tuesday.
She said: “You can be pretty confident that there will be some mention of the pesticide tax in the Chancellors budget statement.”
A report in todays Daily Telegraph said that the Treasury had been persuaded to abandon plans for a pesticide tax after concerns over the financial burden it would place on beleaguered farmers.
There were also fears that the tax could raise the price of British produce to an uncompetitive level both home and abroad.
The spokeswoman said this was “press speculation in advance of the pre-budget report”.
However, other Government sources said there were strong feelings around Whitehall that the Government should not proceed with the tax.
A report for the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions earlier this year suggested the tax would benefit the consumer and the environment.
The National Farmers Union and the British Pesticides Association have campaigned vigorously against the plan, claiming it would financially cripple farmers and not have the intended environmental benefits