‘Putting charity tractor runs at risk by changing red diesel rules is scandalous’

A Northern Ireland MP has described it as “scandalous” that charity events such as tractor runs are being ‘put at risk’ due to changes to the use of red diesel.

Upper Bann MP, Carla Lockhart, met with MPs from various Westminster parties this week to drum up support for a joint approach to the Treasury for a red diesel rebate rethink.

She also met with Gareth Gault from Grassmen who have been huge supporters of charity tractor events such as runs and dyno days, which have raised thousands of pounds for charities over the years.

Carla pictured with Gareth (Donkey) from Grassmen
Carla pictured with Gareth (Donkey) from Grassmen
Carla pictured with Gareth (Donkey) from Grassmen

Red diesel will not be permitted for tractor runs or ploughing matches from 1 April; New red diesel rules could ‘spell the end’ of charity tractor runs councillor warnsMs Lockhart commented: “The debate I hosted in Parliament last week had cross-party support – Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, SNP MPs all spoke out expressing concern about the impact the proposed changes to the rebate will have.

“What we need now is for those MPs to encourage their colleagues to come on board this campaign. “DUP MPs are clear – we want the government to pause this change, take away the cliff edge, and support the industry to move through a transition period, when new fuel sources can be developed.

“I would also encourage other parties from Northern Ireland, who have not shown support for the local construction sector, to also join the campaign.”

The Upper Bann representative has spent time working with MPs from across the political spectrum, planning the next steps that need to be taken.

“I also spent more time engaging with the industry in Northern Ireland,” she added.

“The message is a stark one.

“This change will devastate business, increase cost, and ultimately impact on the provision of public services like new schools, roads, and hospitals.

“It was also good to meet up with Gareth Gault from Grassmen.

“Everyone knows the fantastic charitable ethos of Grassmen and their support for tractor runs, helping groups to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes.

“That HMRC are putting this at risk by changing red diesel rules is scandalous and I am raising this specific issue with the Government as well,” she concluded.