Growers' fury over climate levy English growers' hopes of exemption from the climate change levy, further modifications to which were announced in the Budget, have been dashed. Hopes had run high that they had lobbied successfully to escape the tax. Growers contacted by The Grocer were of the opinion the levy amounted to a body blow which would lead either to growers closing down or seeking to move from the UK. The introduction of a transitional 50% discount for up to five years on the levy for horticulture firms, to help protect their competitiveness, was announced by the government. Additionally, part of the £50m Energy Efficiency fund will be put aside to finance a "special package of measures for the horticulture sector to improve the sector's energy efficiency". But these concessions have been condemned by industry leaders as "derisory" ­ leaving aside the fact that the 50% discount has to be cleared by the European Commission. Andrew Cooksey, md of Hazelwood VHB, the country's largest glasshouse producer, said the dispensation was "bordering on an insult". The climate change levy and its negotiated agreements are estimated to reduce carbon emissions by at least five million tonnes a year by 2010. All the revenue raised, the government has stressed, will be recycled through a 0.3% point cut in employers' National Insurance contributions. The levy is therefore designed to be revenue neutral. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}