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Farming family give cautious welcome to fuel duty freeze
THE chancellor’s decision to scrap a planned fuel duty increase was given a cautious welcome by one farming family - who say their industry is being hit on all sides by rising costs.
Nicho Mortimer and Jill Killick, from Woundales Farm in Borrowby, near Northallerton, were relieved at George Osborne’s decision to scrap the planned petrol increase for autumn 2013, which would have put about 3p a litre on petrol and diesel.
But they say much more needs to be done to help the farming industry, which is in crisis after some of the wettest weather on record has caused all their costs to spiral.
The couple run a small business hand-rearing Dexter cows and selling the beef and lamb from the gates of their North Yorkshire farm.
They say for many farmers, owning a large vehicle such as a 4X4 is an absolute necessity to tow cattle or heavy trailers and they would otherwise find themselves cut off in bad weather.
Ms Killick said: “This announcement is a halfway compromise.
“I know its times of austerity but something more has to be done to keep the industry alive and to keep young people in farming. The rural economy is in substantial decline.
“I don’t know how they could help with fuel costs further – maybe through some kind of tax relief?”
Mr Mortimer said they already use a small diesel Ford Fiesta for most journeys that don’t involve transporting cattle, in order to save on petrol. It costs just £30 a year to tax. Road tax for their 11-year-old Land Rover costs £250 per year.
“We do get penalised, there’s no doubt about it,” said Mr Mortimer. “We need a 4X4 for pulling cattle around. There are very few vehicles that will tow the weight we need to tow.
“There are people like us who have to have them and we’re classed in the same tax bracket as people who are running around in flash Land Rovers as a lifestyle choice.”
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