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Fishermen (Fuel Costs)

Volume 78: debated on Monday 29 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will estimate the cost of cutting the present price of marine gas oil charged to fishing vessel owners in order to reduce that cost by 25 pence per gallon;(2) if he has any information on the weekly fuel bill cost of a fishing vessel of 80 feet in length;(3) what information he has as to the cost of one gallon of marine fuel oil for fishing vessels in the years 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and the lastest available figures for 1985;(4) what is the amount of rebate granted to fishing vessels when purchasing marine gas oil; and whether value added tax on the purchase of this commodity is recoverable by the vessel owner.

[pursuant to his reply, 4 April 1985, c. 736]: I estimate that, for the Scottish fleet, the cost of cutting the price of gas oil by 25 pence per gallon for a year would be between £6 million and £8 million.The amount of fuel used by individual vessels varies with engine size, fishing method and distance of the grounds from the home post, but a typical 80 foot seiner would use at least 1,000 gallons of gas oil per week at a current cost of about £1,000.Fuel oil prices vary from port to port and from supplier to supplier. The following are typical prices for gas oil in Peterhead—

April of YearPence per gallon (including duty)
These prices would generally attract discounts, the levels of which have fluctuated over the years. I understand that currently a discount of about 8 pence per gallon is common.Full relief from excise duty (normally 3½ pence per gallon) is allowed on marine gas oil used on board British registered fishing boats. This fuel is normally zero-rated for value added tax purposes.