The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has criticised the increases to light dues announced by the government this week. The leading trade body has called on the Government to take up the other options available that would remove the need for further rises next year.
Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Shipping, said:
"The recession has taken the wind out of the sails for a lot of shipping companies and these extra levies could not come at a worse time for businesses in the maritime industry.
"While July’s rise looks likely to go ahead, we strongly urge the Government to reconsider next April’s planned hike in light dues or risk further reducing the UK’s competitiveness, as importers and exporters will face additional costs for operating out of this country."
FTA agrees with the stance taken by the Lights Advisory Committee and the majority of UK shipowners, that government could find the extra money needed to fund navigation aids by ending its subsidisation of Irish lights.
"The General Lighthouse Authority’s over spend is being blamed on the credit crunch, but it is this deepening economic recession which is precisely why rates must be kept down. It seems that UK industry will have to pay for the way light dues have been managed, with the UK’s competitiveness as a place to do business being the ultimate victim.
"The Department for Transport itself has openly acknowledged that ‘the shipping industry has been suffering during the economic downturn’, but paying lip service is not enough. We would like to see a cessation of all planned increases, whether they are staggered or not." Freight