The RYA's Head of Government Affairs, Gus Lewis, and the BMF's Executive Director, Howard Pridding, met with HMRC officials this morning to discuss the Minister's recent statement (20 February) on the continued use of marked red diesel in the UK.
As previously reported, the crux of the issue relates to the proposed declaration that boaters are required to make when buying red diesel in the UK.
The RYA and the BMF sought to clarify the Government's intentions over this declaration and to propose alternative wording that simply reminds recreational boaters that other coastal states may apply their own legislation to vessels navigating in their territorial waters.
The meeting this morning was positive and the RYA and BMF can now report that HMRC has confirmed that the Government has no intention to make it unlawful for red diesel bought in the UK to be used outside UK territorial waters.
HMRC has also confirmed that the wording of the legislation and the declaration that boat users will make at the time of purchase will be amended to reflect this. The RYA and BMF are confident that their concerns over the proposed declaration will be addressed when the consultation has closed.
Gus Lewis comments, "The proposed revised wording for the declaration was unacceptable and we are pleased that HMRC has recognised our serious concerns. We have proposed to HMRC alternative wording that we believe would avoid boaters having to acknowledge falsely that they are aware of restrictions on fuel usage that do not exist."
Howard Pridding commented, "We have worked with the same officials at HMRC for many years on this issue, who understand the importance to the industry and their customers of the continued availability of red diesel. We have worked constructively this morning to find a way forward. We are hopeful that HMRC's efforts on this issue will assuage the European Commission's concerns and end the infraction proceedings."
The consultation closes on 11 March 2012 and we are assured that HMRC will consider all responses submitted. Thereafter, we expect the proposed revised wording for the declaration to be confirmed in the Budget Statement being made on the 21 March 2012 and the subsequent Finance Act.