To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Ministers in (a) HM Treasury and (b) the Department for Transport on providing support to the UK fishing industry and coastal communities in respect of the rising cost of fuel.
20 May 2022
The increasing cost of fuel is affecting a wide range of sectors including the fishing industry. Our primary focus is on analysing how the UK fleet is being affected by fuel and fish prices. Defra Ministers and officials are working with colleagues across government, along with a wide range of stakeholders, and are closely monitoring the situation.
The Government has shown long term commitment to the sector and will continue to do so in the future. As part of this long term commitment we are not planning to repurpose funds to mitigate the impacts of high fuel prices. We consider this is a cross cutting issue, and so are liaising with colleagues across government to determine the longer-term impacts and any mitigating actions.
Defra will continue to support the sector through the £100 million UK Seafood Fund, which as one of its main objectives seeks to increase the sustainability of the sector, including through investing in the transition to renewable energy.
Defra is also making £32.7 million in annual funding available across all four nations of the UK which last year enabled grant schemes to be opened in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, benefiting hundreds of UK businesses. The grant scheme for England, the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme, delivers investment to safeguard the long-term sustainability, resilience and prosperity of the seafood sector.
In recognition of the challenges in the maritime sector, including the fishing industry, in the 2022 Spring Budget the Chancellor overturned the 2020 announcement to remove the red diesel entitlement for commercial boat operators, meaning the industry can continue to use red diesel, in addition to the Marine Voyages Relief, which gives 100% relief on fuel duty costs.