Red diesel restrictions a ‘tax on food’: NIFDA

Red diesel restrictions a ‘tax on food’: NIFDA

New rules coming into force in Northern Ireland this month restricting the use of red diesel have been criticised by food industry leaders.

The Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association has said that the move will lead to significantly increased costs for chilled and frozen transport, with no additional environmental benefit, and amounts to a ‘tax on food’.

Red diesel will only be allowed for use in agriculture, rail transport and non-commercial heating.

Michael Bell, Executive Director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) said: “This is not about the government making the food supply chain more sustainable. There is no difference in terms of environmental impact between red or white diesel, and in the absence of commercially viable alternatives for refrigeration this move amounts to a tax on food.

“The food supply chain is not in a normal position at present and the whole supply chain is struggling to keep a lid on prices. Further taxing food distribution in this way at this time could have serious consequences not just for businesses here, but for consumers too.

“The war in Ukraine has caused a serious ripple effect on the global food system, causing supply chain disruption and price increases. Fuel prices are hurting consumers too, particularly in Northern Ireland where we have some of the most vulnerable people in the United Kingdom. Pressing ahead with a tax on food when families across the UK are experiencing a cost of living crisis will have devastating consequences.

“I raised this issue with Northern Ireland Office minister Conor Burns last week, and NIFDA will continue to press the government to see sense on this issue.”