Sailors are not gloating at the fuel price hike that all boaters will face on November 1st. Although we use a fraction of the fuel that our motor boat cousins do there is still a sense of outrage at the injustice of charging what was meant to be a road duty for vehicles that dont use roads!.
HMRC have announced that we can declare a 60/40 ratio of engine to domestic heating use for diesel purchased. In other words for every 100 litres purchased, 40 litres will be subject to the current rate of duty – 9.69 pence per litre at 5% VAT – and 60 litres will be subject to full duty – 50.35ppl at 17.5% VAT.
The statement from our tax authority says .. “HMRC also appreciates the concerns of users about the difficulty of calculating and apportioning their own intended usage accurately and their worries about unintentionally making an inaccurate declaration.”… well how thoughtful of them!
What has not been said is that the excessive road tax duties on fuel and car ownership were intended to contain road usage within the road system’s capacity; to increase road transport efficiency by controlling congestion; and raise funds for road maintenance. At no time do I recall road tax or fuel duties being considered as a way of reducing boat traffic on the high seas.
Does the government think there are too many traffic jams in the Channel? or has the number of boats exceeded the capacity of the oceans to accommodate us? Has the government had to spend more on maintaining the waves?
Will the taxes raised be spent to improve harbours? fund the coastguard? subsidise boat manufacture for the employment benefits in our coastal areas?
… I dont think so!