Grave concerns over new red diesel rules dismissed: Carla Lockhart

As changes to rules governing the use of red diesel take effect on Friday (April 1), DUP MP Carla Lockhart said the “very grave concerns” of those worst affected have been dismissed by government.

“Treasury (HMT) has now given clarity that red diesel changes will not apply to charity tractor runs, agricultural shows and ploughing matches. Whilst that is a partial victory, it is of no help at all to our construction, haulage, waste and quarry sectors.

“HMT are tone deaf on this issue and have treated these industries appallingly. There has been no engagement with them and a dismissal of very grave concerns. If Treasury does not step back from these dangerous changes it will see major job losses, a slump in construction, increased food prices and transport costs.”

The Upper Bann MP added: “Ultimately this tax will see businesses close yet it delivers no environmental benefit because greener alternatives are not yet available. Emissions are the same whether a vehicle uses red or white diesel.

DUP MP Carla Lockhart with Gareth Gault of Grassmen

“We are asking for a common sense approach with a delay of five years to allow alternatives to make their way into the market. If the government are serious about levelling up and improving infrastructure then they need to support companies, not penalise them with this tax grab.”

Speaking earlier this year, Gareth Gault of Grassmen said the new rules would be particularly problematic for those who alternate between farm work and construction work, sometimes on alternate days.

“That is practically impossible... to change fuel from a tractor between jobs. It is one of those industries that is very much a crossover industry. Guys have tractors that are maybe one day involved in construction and then the next day agriculture – that is very difficult,” he said.

Sinn Fein economy spokesperson Caoimhe Archibald said changes will hit businesses already struggling with increased costs and will put jobs at risk.

“The changes will hit businesses in construction, quarrying and manufacturing which are already struggling with increased costs of materials and soaring energy prices, and they will put jobs at risk,” she said.

“Businesses need practical support.

“This change to the entitlement to use red diesel won’t reduce emissions but it will however increase revenues for the British Treasury, that is already benefiting from increased VAT receipts off rising costs.”

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