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European Community (Gas And Fuel Oil)

Volume 984: debated on Tuesday 6 May 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what taxes are imposed on fuel oil used by industrial consumers in each of the EEC countries, including the United Kingdom.

The following table shows the excise duty and VAT imposed on fuel oil in each of the EEC Countries as at 1 April 1980.

Excise duty £/tonneVAT Per cent.
Belgium1·486
Denmark26·0220·25
France0·0817·6
Germany3·5513
Ireland4·090
Italy0·0514
Luxembourg1·485
Netherlands3·2718
United Kingdom8·000
Currencies have been converted at the exchange rates current on 1 April 1980.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the present costs to industrial consumers of gas and fuel oil; and how this compares with the costs of the same fuels to consumers in each of the other EEC countries.

Based on a Department of Energy survey of some 900 large industrial consumers in the United Kingdom during the period October to December 1979 the average prices of heavy fuel oil and gas were £76.1 per tonne and 14.10p per therm respectively.

During the same period the average prices realised in new and renewed contracts to industrial consumers for heavy fuel oil and gas were £84.5 per tonne and 21.3p per therm respectively.

There are difficulties in making reliable international comparisons of fuel oil prices since, for example, the proportions sold under contract may vary in the different countries. The latest available price comparisons—15 February 1980—compiled by the EEC for high sulphur fuel oil deliveries of less than 24,000 tonnes per annum—inclusive of duties and taxes—are as follows:

Country

£ per tonne
Belgium74.63
Denmark106.70
France79.47
Germany85.21
Ireland97.11
Italy82.32
Luxembourgnot available
Netherland81.09
United Kingdom92.74

It is necessary to bear in mind that the method of collecting the data in each country may not be identical and therefore makes direct comparison difficult. Furthermore, the quality of fuel oil used in the various countries may differ.

For the latest available figures, on the average price of gas to industrial consumers in EEC countries I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 23 January 1980—[Vol. 977, c. 225–28]—to the hon. Member for St. Helens (Mr. Spriggs). The prices are based on tariffs in force on 1 January 1978.