THERE have been warnings that planned changes to the rules around the use of red diesel, which are due to come into force next month, will put local jobs at risk.
Under a UK-wide reform, which the Westminster government is intended to help lower greenhouse gas emissions, from April 1st many who currently use red diesel, which has much lower fuel duty applied to it, will no longer be entitled to do so.
There will still be a number of exemptions, such as for those for agricultural and forestry vehicles, however it is expected costs for some industries, such as construction, soar.
Local MLA Aine Murphy has called for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to pause the rule change, and instead implement measures with a more meaningful environmental impact.
“The change in the entitlements to use red diesel will not reduce carbon emissions in itself,” said Ms Murphy.
“This change seems to be designed to increase revenues for the British Treasury in Westminster.
“It will hit businesses here in Fermanagh hard, particularly in the construction, quarrying and manufacturing sectors.
“These sectors are already struggling with increased costs of materials and soaring energy prices and this thoughtless move by the British government could put jobs at risk.”
Ms Murphy continued, “I have written to the Secretary of the Treasury to ask what consideration was given to the impact of these measures here and furthermore, what level of engagement took place with organizations and stakeholders in the North and South?
“The British Chancellor should pause this move and instead support businesses in taking the necessary action to move away from fossil fuels.
“He should put in place measures and policies that will have a meaningful impact in reducing emissions instead of this cynical tax raising move.”
Ms Murphy said her party, Sinn Féin, wanted to see the ‘Just Transition’ principles, which are based on driving a shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy, “enshrined in climate action.”
“Workers in industries that are carbon intensive and people who can least afford raising prices should not be disproportionately affected by the cost of the transition to net zero,” she concluded.
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