Preferred option is to retain red diesel pumps for both recreational boaters and commercial operators

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Following talks between leisure boat representative bodies and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) yesterday (26 July) it looks possible that changes in the pricing of marine diesel will not have an adverse affect on its availability to recreational boaters.

HMRC have prepared a number of options for the implementation of the new regime for duty payments on red diesel used by private recreational craft. According to officials, its preferred option is to retain the red diesel pumps for both recreational boaters and commercial operators to use. Recreational boaters will have to pay the full duty rate. Commercial operators will continue to get the current reduced and exempt rates of duty.

Speaking today Neil Northmore, RYA Government Affairs Adviser said: “This is good news for recreational boating. HMRC have taken on board all the key issues that we presented to them including tank cleaning, availability and safety issues, and have incorporated them into the proposed options. Their preferred option takes direct account of the concerns that we have voiced over availability”.

Customs officials confirmed they would be launching a consultation document week commencing 30 July.

Members of the public, boating organisations and the marine industry will be invited to make their comments.

A link will be set up on the RYA website to the Government’s site once the consultation has opened.

The consultation will give respondents until the end of October to provide feedback on a number of options that Government is considering to implement the decision. HMRC will then develop legislation, based on a preferred option, in order to implement the decision by 1 November 2008, as announced in this year’s Budget Statement.

Speaking today, the BMF’s Executive Director, Howard Pridding said: “It is obvious from yesterday’s meeting that Customs Officials have put in a lot of hard work over recent months to develop workable options for implementation.

“They appear to have listened hard to the concerns that have been put forward by the BMF, RYA and our partner representatives of the industry and boat user. I am confident that when we see the consultation document next week that it will contain options that will look to minimise the impact and potential for financial burden on the industry”.

The RYA and BMF (British Marine Federation) have asked for a full explanation as to why recreational boaters must pay the full road duty rate for marine diesel and HMRC have agreed to provide this.