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Fishermen, Farmers and Road Hauliers to Meet First Minister

SCOTLAND - A joint delegation of Scottish fishermen, farmers and road hauliers will meet First Minister Alex Salmond today (17 June) to call for urgent action on the soaring cost of fuel.

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, NFU Scotland and the Road Haulage Association in Scotland announced last week that they had joined forces to press for immediate measures to ease the pain of sky-high fuel prices.

The grouping, which represents 9,000 farmers, 3,500 fishermen and 1,000 haulage companies comprising over 10,000 vehicles, will underline to the First Minister the importance of securing the nation’s food production and transport capacity, which are now under crippling pressure from rising costs.

The farming and fishing industries contribute over £2.5 billion annually to the Scottish economy and directly employ over 70,000 people.

A joint statement from the three organisations states: "NFUS, RHA and SFF recognise that the price of a barrel of oil is the most significant factor in recent price rises. However we are dismayed that Government has failed to take any meaningful steps to alleviate the tax burden on individuals and businesses in recent years; a period during which the revenue to UK Treasury from fuel tax has increased significantly."

At tomorrow’s talks in Edinburgh, the joint grouping will outline to the First Minister a six-point action plan:

  1. The UK Government should immediately scrap plans to increase fuel duty by two pence per litre in October.
  2. Fuel duty on road diesel and unleaded fuel should be reduced.
  3. EU legislation should be used to reduce fuel prices in more remote areas.
  4. Farmers should qualify for the same red diesel rebate as their fishing counterparts.
  5. Aid should be provided to Scottish fishermen, as has already been provided to the French and Spanish fleet.
  6. Hauliers should be granted ‘essential user’ status, qualifying for a duty rebate.

Ellen Hardy

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