Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Food and Rural Affairs, Roger Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnorshire today criticized Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for their review on biodiesel – due to end tomorrow.
A point in the terms of reference of the Review implies that the Government is planning to increase the duty on vegetable oils and biodiesels as fuels. This could see the duty on these fuels more than double from 21.1pence/litre to a whopping 47.1pence/litre.
Commenting on this news, Roger Williams said: “With this government making such a big song and dance about green energy, it is shocking that they are considering lumbering those who want to make a difference to their ecological footprint with such a hefty price rise.
“The biodiesel and vegetable oil industries are young, so such a huge hike in the levels of duty runs the risk of stopping these industries in their tracks.
“Such actions undermine investor confidence in the industry and in consumers who may choose not to convert their vehicles to use the more environmentally sound varieties.
“It’s ludicrous that while we pay just 9p/litre of duty on most normal fuels, environmentally friendly biodiesel and vegetable oil fuels carry twice as much tax.
“Many farmers in Wales have been encouraged to diversify their activities and invest in biodiesels and vegetable oils. An increase on the duty paid on their products is a betrayal to them and to everyone who is deeply concerned about the threat of climate change.
“I have written to the HMRC to express my concern and ask them for their reasoning behind such proposals.”
With attention focused on airplanes and transport infrastructure as the main means of launching a terrorist attack on the UK, a threat to Britain’s food supply has been relatively overlooked. Agroterrorism could impact the UK’s economy, as well as food supply.
Speaking on the possibility of an agroterrorist attack on the UK, Roger Williams MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Food and Rural Affairs said:
“Contamination of a nation’s food supply could be a very easy task for terrorists to achieve, with chemical agents easy to conceal and distribute. Agro-terrorism is furthermore a very cost-effective form of causing major disruption, with a small amount of a high risk chemical potentially producing an epidemic of nationwide proportions.”
“There is also the risk of an agroterrorist attack elsewhere in the world which could lead to a halt in imports and increased British agricultural self-sufficiency. DEFRA has quoted that we have between 15 and 25 days’ supply of wheat for milling, but I will be writing to Ben Bradshaw to find out how many days’ supply we have of other important foodstuffs.”
“This is not an issue for public panic, but one that DEFRA and the farming community should be looking into, formulating precautionary actions to be taken in the event of such an attack. We must also look again at what agriculture can do to reduce the better known threat of terrorist bombs containing fertilisers. I believe we need to review the security of fertiliser stores as up to 66% of farmers do not consider it at all.”