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Vehicle Duty Must Not Add to Farmers’ Cost Burden
03/09/08

The four UK farming unions have united in calling for the Government to reconsider its plans to substantially increase the vehicle excise duty (VED) to be applied to the type of vehicles which are essential to those who live and work in the countryside.

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The farming unions, responsible for the interests of 90,000 farmers and their families, have written to Angela Eagle MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury. The letter points out that farmers have little option but to use four wheel drive (4wd) and similar vehicles to go about their everyday business. Under the Government’s proposals, any such vehicles registered from March 2001 onwards would be liable to pay the increased VED. If unchanged, farmers would face substantial increases in the cost of running a vehicle at a time when all costs associated with the business of farming and producing food have gone through the roof.

NFU Scotland President, Jim McLaren, has signed the letter on behalf of Scottish producers. He said:

“Such vehicles are essential to the running of farm businesses up and down the country and alternatives do not exist. We need the plans to be reviewed and we need derogation to be considered for working farm vehicles.

“As a Union, we made these points in person to the Treasury Minister when we met in person with her in June. In the few short months since then, the costs associated with farming and the business of producing food have soared. Inappropriate vehicle taxation should not be added to the cost burden.

“Instead, the Government has a clear opportunity to signal its commitment to food and farming. It has been estimated that the number of vehicles used in agriculture is around 60,000. The revenue implications of a derogation for certain working vehicles are therefore modest. By showing commitment to finding a solution, Government will be recognising the importance of primary producers in meeting its ambitions for sustainable food production in the UK.”

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