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Stackyard News May 08

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Support for Hauliers as Farm Union Prepares for Westminster Trip
27/05/08

Scotland's farm union has expressed its support for hauliers in their efforts to raise awareness of the crippling impact of the current fuel tax system.

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Today’s demonstrations come ahead of a meeting next Wednesday between NFU Scotland representatives, Highlands and Islands MPs and Treasury Minister Angela Eagle.

The meeting, arranged last week and facilitated by Alistair Carmichael MP, has been called on the back of a doubling of farm diesel prices since February 2007 and huge rises in normal road fuel prices which are disproportionately hitting rural areas.

On Wednesday 4 June, NFUS President Jim McLaren and Highland Regional Chairman Colin Manson will join MPs in meeting Angela Eagle and Treasury officials. The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, has also been invited to attend the meeting. NFUS will be calling for a reduction in fuel tax, which is a significant contributor to food price inflation as the cost of both producing and transporting food is soaring.

Jim McLaren, NFU Scotland President, said:

“We are fully in support of today’s fuel protests by hauliers. During the recent Grangemouth disruption, it became obvious just how great our members concern over the cost of fuel has become and it’s now time for action.

“Red diesel prices are almost double what they were at the start of 2007 and the duty on red diesel has increased by 275 per cent since Labour came to power in 1997. A horrifying figure and one which compares to a duty rise on normal fuel of around 33 per cent since 1997.

“Add this to energy, fertiliser and animal feed costs increases faced by farmers and it’s easy to see why they are so concerned. Normal diesel prices are also crippling people in rural areas who have no choice but to use their cars.

“The UK Government and the Chancellor have expressed their worries over food price inflation but have failed to recognise the problem of fuel prices, which are of course a major contributor to food production and transport costs. The Treasury’s income from fuel continues to climb whilst farmers face exorbitant costs and consumers lose out too.”

Colin Manson, NFUS Highland Region Chairman, said:

“Fuel prices are now really out of hand and particularly spiralling in rural areas. They are crippling not just farmers but all those who live in rural areas or have to commute on regular basis.

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