WELSH farmers will be extremely disappointed that Chancellor George Osborne ignored mounting pressure to cut fuel duty in the Budget, Farmers' Union of Wales president Emyr Jones said.
“Although he announced the fuel duty rise planned for September will not happen, we are naturally concerned that he didn't go further and cut duty by a few pence in a budget aimed at 'building a resilient economy'.
“The biggest expense for farmers and anyone else living in rural areas is fuel costs so it is extremely disappointing that his decision to freeze duty for a fourth year will do little to help businesses in our rural communities to prosper.
“Fuel costs are unavoidable and are becoming more and more difficult to bear for those living and working in rural areas,” Mr Jones added.
Welcoming the Chancellor's decision to increase the maximum tax relief – from £250,000 to £500,000 – under the Government's Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) scheme, Mr Jones said it would highlight that many agricultural and construction firms are unaware of how much they are entitled to claim against newly-purchased machines and are already missing out.
“A recent survey by machinery manufacturers JCB revealed that out of 250 businesses surveyed only five (two per cent) correctly answered that they could claim through the scheme so it would have helped considerably if the
Chancellor had announced it was to become permanent to allow rural industries to make proper future plans.
“The JCB survey showed there's confusion in the construction and agricultural sectors over the size and eligibility of the available tax relief. It seems that some financial advisers have been slow in coming to terms with the new rules and some tax-saving opportunities have already been lost.”