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Country News - 2003

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Mixed rural reaction to budget

Thursday 10 April 2003

FARMING organisations gave mixed reactions to yesterday's budget from Chancellor Gordon Brown.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) praised the decision to taper off capital gains on rented farmland, simplifying an extremely complex system which has angered landowners for many years.

But the National Farmers' Union complained that, "hidden away in the small print" of the budget statement, there was a proposal to increase the tax on so-called "red diesel" - fuel taxed at a lower rate for agricultural purposes - by 1p a litre which, it claimed, would add an extra £20 million a year to farmers' bills.

The NFU also deplored the fact that there was nothing in the budget to encourage expansion of Britain's fledgling biomass energy, which is exploring ways to produce fuel for both vehicles and power stations from sustainable farm crops.

All in all, said the NFU, it was a "budget of missed opportunities."


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