Financial secretary to the Treasury defends UK's effort in Parliament

In Parliament this morning, John Healey MP, financial secretary to the Treasury, defended the Government’s contribution to the fight to save red diesel.

“We put the strongest possible case to the Commission and we prepared in close cooperation with many of the organization’s affected. We could have done little more to press the case,” he said in his speech to the House of Commons.

“I know that the derogation that permits the use of red diesel in Britain is highly valued by private boat owners and users. Thirty-four separate derogations from the directive are held by member states. None has yet been approved by the Commission and fourteen have been rejected so far.

“Late yesterday afternoon, it was confirmed to me that the Commission had decided not to renew the UK’s application for a fresh derogation for private boats. I know that this will be unwelcome news. As we have argued to the Commission, it could be highly complex and costly to implement the measure, so today I have asked officials to meet concerned and affected organisations soon to discuss the implications of the Commission’s decision.”

Simon Collis, editor of MBM, said: “We’ve worked really hard on the campaign; what now needs to be seen is how the Treasury will implement this and what will be the final price of red diesel.”