An increase in road tax for essential rural vehicles and a further
hike in fuel duties will heavily penalise farmers and others living
and working in rural Scotland, according to NFU Scotland President
Reacting to the Budget announced today by the Chancellor, NFUS has stressed
that 4x4 vehicles are essential for farmers and a doubling of Vehicle Excise
Duty, on top of a further two pence increase in fuel duty, is an unacceptably
heavy penalty for individuals with no practical alternatives. On top
of this, red diesel duty for off-road, agricultural vehicles will also increase
by two pence per litre from 1 October, significantly above inflation.
On a more positive side, the extension of the duty rebate on biofuel to
2010 is a welcome step as the UK seeks to develop its green fuel industry.
NFUS President Jim McLaren said:
“Farmers don’t drive 4x4s as a lifestyle choice, they are essential
tools for the job. The Chancellor is clearly trying to penalise those
driving big cars in city centres, yet by doubling road tax for all these
vehicles he is hitting individuals that have no alternatives. Having
stressed that point to the Chancellor in my recent letter to him, I am hugely
disappointed that he has not sought to exempt essential users.
“The increase in fuel duty of two pence per litre from 1 October
exacerbates the double-whammy of woeful public transport and higher fuel
prices already facing rural areas.
“The Chancellor has announced he will maintain the differential between
red diesel and normal road diesel, but this means a rise in red diesel duty
of 2ppl as well. The rise is way above inflation and just adds to
the dismal fuel news delivered by the Chancellor to rural areas.
“There is one bright spot though, which is an extension of the biofuel
duty rebate until 2010, something we have called for. This is a good
move, which supports the Renewable Fuel Transport Obligation, which should
see biofuels represent 5% of all road fuels by 2010 and 10% by 2020. This
is an opportunity for farmers to be a major part of the solution to climate
change by growing energy crops and turning waste into green road fuel.”
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