FARMERS are calling for a fairer deal from the Chancellor on car tax for essential off-road vehicles.
Chairman of NFU Scotland’s Shetland branch Hazel Mac-kenzie said allowances should be made for farmers and crofters who need four-by-fours to do their daily work.
Her comments come after SNP Euro MP Alyn Smith and transport minister Stewart Stevenson asked Alistair Dar-ling to consider a vehicle rebate scheme for essential four-by-four users.
Popular among many urban dwellers, four-by-fours have been taxed heavily because of their high emissions compared with other cars.
A typical off road driver can face a vehicle excise duty of over £400 a year.
Farmers say the vehicles are essential to allow them to do their job.
“We have this law in place that you can’t tow trailers of a certain weight without the correct vehicle to do so,” said Ms Mackenzie. “To move stock around or take home fertiliser we have no option but to tow.
“But in order to do this we need the correct vehicle to tow it. It needs to be a big vehicle, and it’s essential we can still use them. Winter feeding is very important and we need to be able to get out in really bad days and use four by fours to feed stock, or else we are breaking animal welfare legislation. It’s not as if we’re running our bairns to the school or going to the Co-op.”
She said farmers and crofters had hoped to benefit from an arrangement which could see motorists taxed by postcode, or depending on the numbers of stock they keep.
That view was mirrored by Shetland MSP Tavish Scott, who said a postcode system of taxation would tackle the dif-ferent circumstances motorists face.
“I believe the UK Gover-nment should accept that reasoned approach which has been made to the Treasury in advance of many Budgets.”