Light Dues reduction ‘step in the right direction’ for UK shipping

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Shipping Minister Stephen Hammond has today reduced the light dues rate and stated that he intends to seek a further reduction in 2015-16.

The drop of one penny to 40p per net registered tonne is a small but welcome announcement and one that, as the minister said, “is laying the ground for a sustainable reduction in the call on the UK light dues payer.”

UK Chamber CEO Guy Platten said of the announcement:

“Today’s statement is further evidence of the Government’s commitment to protecting and enhancing the UK’s maritime industry – and a great example of its’ Strategic Partnership with industry bearing fruit.

“In real terms, Light Dues have been reduced by 14% in this Parliament. Whilst Light Dues themselves continue to be something of an anachronism by international standards, this reduction is a boost to competitiveness and a sign that the UK is committed to improving its offering to the global shipping industry.

“The UK’s lighthouse authorities provide a vital service for the seafarers who move 95% of UK trade, and this show of support from Government is welcomed by the industry.”

Michael Everard, Chairman of the Lights Advisory Committee added:

“The reduction of 1p in the Light Dues Rate is extremely positive, it is a small but important step in the right direction, it will help UK shipping, and is further evidence that ministers in this Government are committed to a pro-shipping agenda and reducing taxes.”

Today’s statement also confirms that the transition of the Commissioners for Irish Lights to self-funding by 2015 is on track, and that the General Lighthouse Authorities pension deficit has now been resolved. These were two major and longstanding issues and it is hoped these developments will contribute to further sustainable reductions in light dues in the years ahead.