Farewell coalition and hello majority. Voters chose a Conservative Government producing a raft of new appointments and decisions critical for our industry sector.
With the Summer Budget due on July 8,the PRA will be lobbying for a 2ppl duty reduction to be largely funded by the estimated windfall gain of £400m from increased fuel usage up nearly 2% last year.
Damian Hinds MP has been promoted to Exchequer Secretary and has day-to-day responsibility for duty matters.
The Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) is now overseen by Amber Rudd MP as Secretary of State, and Andrea Leadsom MP as Minister for Energy. Will they shift from an overtly ’green’ agenda to one that is more pragmatic and tackles important issues such as energy resilience for retail road fuels?
Likewise the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills failed to progress retailers’ complaints about duty rebate on recovered vapour, product density anomalies and the issue of Deferment Account Numbers (DAN) for oil products to companies approved by HMRC under the Excise Payment Security System (EPSS). Will the new Secretary of State, Gregg Hinds MP and Anna Soubry MP, Minister for Business, be persuaded to properly investigate these claims?
As petrol retailers, our business encompasses activities which cover nearly all Government departments with:
-Department of Transport (DfT): fuel quality/grades and the Motorway Service Areas (MSAs) review;
-Department for Communities & Local Government: business rates and planning issues;
-Department of Health: tobacco and alcohol legislation with sugar products not far behind;
-Home Office: crime on the forecourt
-Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs: abuse of the recommended practice for effluent from car and jet washes.
We now have PRA committees for Northern Ireland and Scotland involving direct contact with their ministers, local MPs and officials on issues where responsibility has been devolved such as rates, planning and health.
The future looks very busy for PRA and our political advisors.