Philip Bradbourn, Conservative MEP for W Midlands, submitted a written question to the Council, supporting extension of the derogation

 

Mr Philip Bradbourn OBE, Conservative MEP for the W Midlands, told MBM he had submitted a written question the European Council on 18 October, which read:

“Currently, derogations in the Council Directive 2003/96/EC  allow five countries, including Finland, Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom, to charge reduced rates of excise duty on red diesel, applying only to private leisure watercraft. These exemptions are due to expire on 31 December 2006. However, if the current derogations were to be abolished, forcing boat owners to fill up with diesel taxed at national rates, boaters would face considerable price increases, forcing many of them out of their sport. The sector would also face high costs of compliance, for example for new infrastructure for tank facilities, while there would be an increased risk of tank tourism and fraud.

“The Commission, in a recent review of the derogations, nevertheless ruled these concerns as ‘not justified’.

“Is the Council aware of the potentially devastating impact of abolishing the derogation on various sectors, including water sports, tourism and the marine industry?

“Does the Council share the assessment that the results of ending the exemption would in fact run directly counter to the Directive’s primary aim, namely the harmonisation of tax levels on energy products so as to reduce distortions in the Internal Market?

“Will the Council therefore support a renewal of the derogation after 31st December 2006 if the governments concerned apply for a renewal?”

Mr Bradbourn is the Conservative spokesman on transport and tourism, and his question is an excellent summary of the objections to the end of the derogation.

Like him, we await a reply to his question with interest.

If Mr Bradbourn is your MEP, you can contact him at pbradbourn@torymeps.com