Fine Gael Agriculture Spokesman, Michael Creed TD, today secured agreement from the Finance Minister to reconsider Fine Gael proposals to exempt agri diesel from a carbon tax before final legislation is passed. Deputy Creed raised the issue at the Committee Stage of the Finance Bill 2010 today.
“To date the Government has missed an opportunity to take account of the difficulties facing farming and rural communities. CSO figures show farm incomes fell by more than 30% this year and farmers are struggling in the aftermath of poor weather conditions.
“The introduction of a carbon tax is aimed at changing attitudes towards energy and fuel consumption but it is clear that farmers don’t have any alternative open to them to replace using a tractor or other farm machinery in their daily work.
“The tax on farm diesel is going to cost farm families a total of €12.5 million, not to mention the cost of paying for the tax on solid home fuels which will cost the average family up to €144 per year.
“Rural households have limited access to the alternatives that could cut their carbon tax costs. They have a more limited opportunity to switch to fuels like gas which would attract a lower carbon tax. They also suffer from the unavailability of rural public transport with 50% of people in rural areas reporting difficulties in accessing transport compared to 11% in urban areas.
“I welcome Minister Lenihan’s agreement to reconsider this matter. It is now up to Fianna Fáil backbenchers to stand up for the farmers and pressure the Government to accept Fine Gael’s proposal.”