Wednesday 26 January 2022 - For Immediate Release
MPs URGE CHANCELLOR TO AMEND POLICY THREATENING
PLOUGHING MATCHES AND CHARITY TRACTOR ROAD-RUNS
Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire - with the support of John Nicolson, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire - has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking him to row back on a threat from HMRC which puts at risk the continued existence of ploughing matches and charity tractor runs.
HMRC have said that from April 2022, tractors used at such events must run on white diesel instead of agricultural red diesel as they do not regard ploughing matches or charity events as “agricultural use”.
Commenting, Mr Wishart said:
"This is a ridiculous proposal that is yet another example of Westminster's total disregard for the interests of rural Scotland. I have been told that this policy will kill-off these events completely because of the time and hassle it takes to switch engines from red to white diesel, and then back again.
"Not only are ploughing matches and tractor road-runs an important part of rural culture, they also raise a lot of money for charity and are used as an opportunity to share skills and educate the future generation of ploughmen."
"Given the ongoing efforts by sections of industry with Home Office staff to alleviate the critical labour shortages which threaten food security, it is my firm view that proceeding with this policy is not in the national interest.
"HMRC introduced a similar proposal in 2008 when they stated that agricultural machines used by those helping to set-up agricultural shows – usually themselves volunteers – would no longer be able to use red diesel. This policy was reversed in 2010 after it was found to have a detrimental effect on the operation of those shows.
"I am therefore urging Rishi Sunak to withdraw this damaging policy."
Also commenting, Mr Nicolson said:
"Scratch beneath the surface and any impression that the UK Government cares about Scottish farmers or rural Scotland quickly evaporates. Ploughing matches are an important part of our rural heritage and tractor charity runs have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities.
"I strongly urge the Chancellor to reconsider his decision to withdraw red diesel use for these important agricultural events which teach vital skills and raise money for charity."