British Marine has called the budget announcement of 3 March, 2021, a ‘red letter day for the marine industry, as Chancellor Rishi Sunak granted extended permission for leisure boaters to use red diesel.
Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, said: “After months of extensive consultation and discussion with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), I am delighted that the Chancellor has today announced that the entitlement to use red diesel will be maintained for all commercial boat operators and for private pleasure craft users in Great Britain.
“This is a big success story for the leisure marine industry and British Marine as the treatment of red diesel beyond April 2022 has been a key issue for our members.
“I am particularly grateful to colleagues at HMRC for working closely with British Marine, listening to industry feedback and giving the leisure marine sector the certainty needed at this unprecedented time.”
At Budget 2020, the government announced that it would remove the entitlement to use red diesel from most sectors from April 2022, “to ensure businesses pay for the harmful emissions they produce and to incentivise the development and adoption of greener alternatives”.
The government ran a consultation last year to make sure it had not overlooked any exceptional reasons why sectors currently using red diesel should be allowed to continue to do so beyond April 2022.
The March 2021 budget announcement follows this consultation.
Robinson address other budget measures, saying: “Today’s announcement has also brought further relief with the Chancellor repeating his pledge to do ‘whatever it takes’ to help businesses impacted by COVID-19.
“The decision to extend the furlough scheme until the end of September is very welcome and will help to prevent further job losses across the sector, particularly as our members prepare for the start of the next boating season.
“We particularly welcome the introduction of further grants for businesses impacted by the restrictions put in place to control COVID-19.
“The extension of the business rates holiday for the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors until the end of June, combined with the announcement that the 5% rate of VAT will remain in place for the hospitality sector until the end of September, will be of huge benefit to our hire boat operators and accommodation providers.
“The announcement of further loans of up to £10 million in value is another timely lifeline which will support businesses of all sizes with more immediate cash-flow concerns.
“Today’s Budget will play a key role in supporting the roadmap out of lockdown and gives businesses in the sector more confidence as they look to restart ahead of what is anticipated to be another busy ‘staycation’ summer in the UK.”
For further information on the red diesel consultation and summary, visit here.