Sinn Féin Councillor, Oonagh Magennis has said it is ‘shameful’ that the British Treasury has refused the request from Declan McAleer MLA to meet the agriculture committee to discuss concerns around restricting red diesel fuel entitlement.
The Slieve Gullion councillor said:
“I was shocked and disappointed that the treasury refused to meet the agriculture committee to discuss our concerns.
“Restricting red diesel fuel entitlement, without offering any kind of mitigation, will result in increased fuel costs for local businesses like construction, haulage and manufacturing
“The decision will also make it harder for farmers to do ‘non-agricultural’ activities such as charity runs or assisting with local construction projects
“The Agriculture committee asked for Treasury officials to brief members but their reply made them seem uninterested in working on this issue. It was particularly appalling given that the meeting could take place online, with no need for any officials to travel from London.
“The Treasury cited environmental concerns, but really this measure is about squeezing more tax out of businesses who are already feeling the pressure of inflation and rising energy prices.
“While agricultural purposes will still be exempt, many farmers use their vehicles for day-to-day activities, and they are now thrown into legal uncertainty around those uses.
“I call on the British Treasury to urgently meet with the Agriculture Committee to discuss this, and take the concerns of local businesses seriously”