FARMERS and landowners in Somerset have welcomed the scrapping of next month's 1p fuel duty rise, according to local experts.

David Hebditch, head of the rural department at Chesterton Humberts in Taunton, has commented on the budget announcement and the affect on the rural community.

He said: “Fuel prices, at an all time high, are having a detrimental effect on rural communities and profit margins for rural business.

"The budget announcement that the Government is scrapping next month’s 1p duty rise and cancelling the fuel duty escalator for the rest of Parliament will be welcomed by farmers and landowners.

“Fuel duty increases are an added burden on rural communities and businesses, hitting the arable sector, where fuel is an essential cost of production, particularly hard, as well as machinery manufacturers who have seen a dip in sales in recent months coinciding with fuel price increases.

“With the current unrest in the Middle East causing oil prices to increase and a knock on affect on fuel prices, the Chancellor has announced that a fair fuel stabiliser will be introduced to keep fuel duty low when oil prices rise.

“The 2% decrease in corporation tax, with a further cut over the following three years to 23%, demonstrates the Government’s commitment to promoting growth, which is good news for rural businesses and farms run as companies.

“Land owners will welcome the unexpected changes to inheritance tax where the tax rate is decreased by the same percentage donated to charity.

“Although the Chancellor unveiled that planning regulations would be relaxed to encourage developers to build and allow commercial to residential conversion, his support for protecting the green belt will be a relief to the rural community.”