11 March 2020
Responding to the Budget speech today, Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive of the British Ports Association said:
“On abolishing relief for ‘red diesel’
The industry was braced for the abolishing of tax relief on ‘red diesel’. It is difficult to accept the imposition of significant extra costs for port operators whilst Government steps in to exempt agriculture, rail and heating, without any credible explanation as to why. This will add costs to some port operations where there are few realistic alternatives and little time to adjust.
We are pleased that Marine Voyages Relief remains in place and welcome a two year delay for operators of non-road mobile machinery is welcome but just postpones the pain. We look forward to engaging with Government on this further before the relief is abolished.
On coronavirus/COVID-19 preparations
We have been calling for sufficient resources for port health authorities’ response to the coronavirus for several weeks. We hope that the £12bn announced for ‘support for public services’ will include support for local authorities’ port health responsibilities.
On new connectivity and transport spending
Whilst we were disappointed that the National Infrastructure Strategy has been delayed, we welcome major new investment in road and rail connectivity for ports and logistics and new investment in transport schemes in England. Large schemes like the Lower Thames Crossing are good news for nearby ports, but extra investment in local road upgrades and potholes is also something to be celebrated.”
The BPA will now look more closely at some of the proposals and extra spending on decarbonisation, air quality and the environment and looks forward to working with Government on shared aims in these areas.