Smith Presses Darling For Farm 4x4 Rebate

22 September 2008
Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's powerful Agricultural Committee, SNP MEP Alyn Smith, has today (Monday) written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer pressing for the establishment of a rebate scheme for road tax or fuel duty to cover all essential agricultural users of four-wheel drive vehicles. This move comes amid growing concern over the rising costs for those working in the agricultural sector.

Mr Smith said:

"Scotland's farmers are under enormous financial pressure at the moment. The situation faced by many is nothing short of a crisis. Poor market returns and increasing costs are pushing more and more farmers out of the industry and after a particularly dreich summer, the industry is reaching crisis point. If we are to stem the tide of those leaving the sector, we must do what we can to relieve the pressure that farmers and other producers find themselves under.

"Although we cannot do much about the weather, one way in which we can help is by using the powers that we do possess to ease the financial burden. The UK Government must take action to lessen the burden on Scottish farmers and a practical and significant step would be the introduction of a rebate scheme on road tax and fuel duty for essential farm vehicles.

"I have today written to Alistair Darling requesting that he set up such a scheme, and with some urgency. The critical situation on many of Scotland's farms means that we cannot afford any delay on this matter. It is time for the Chancellor to recognise the hugely important contribution that Scotland's farmers make and to offer them a break at a time when many are desperately in need of one."