View Full Version : Letter to Oliver Letwin MP

30-04-04, 20:00
Dear Mr Letwin,

Since I was 11 years old I have been involved with the sea. I obtained my first dingy when I was 12 and have enjoyed many hours of boating, fishing and cruising since my first nervous encounter with the sea scouts at West Bay, Bridport.

Until 1996 I kept my boat at West Bay moving to Cobbs Quay Poole as the facilities were so much better and I wanted my wife to become involved with my hobby. In the period since 1996 I have steadily upgraded my boats eventually becoming the proud owner of a beautiful 37 foot Sealine powered by twin Volvo diesel engines. We enjoy our holidays on the boat and regularly cruise to the west and east of our coastline and visit France and the Channel Islands at least twice a season.

I have read with some concern in Motor Boats Monthly that the EU granted the UK a period of exemption with regard to increasing the duty on red diesel. In less than 2 years time EU ministers look set to withdraw the exemption that allows UK leisure boat users to buy low duty red diesel. This move would triple the cost of marine diesel overnight from the current price of around 30p per litre to more than 90p per litre. As it is normal for marine outlets to charge more, the price rise could be even greater. This disastrous move price rise will become law in Jan 2007.

Most people think that all motor boat users are a wealthy elite and an easy route for revenue raising taxation. Believe me many if not most sacrifice an awful lot, as an example, old and shabby cars, poor quality houses that need renovation and holidays, these are spent on the boat because of the capital tied up in the initial purchase, and of course those that need a marine mortgage. Naturally there are the few who seem to print money and to them this increase would not even raise an eyebrow, but to most it would mean selling their beloved boat which in turn would create a tidal wave of its own.

Tripling the price of diesel would decimate the leisure marine industry. The secondhand market would be swamped by diesel engined boats, the value of these boats would plummet, and manufacturers who construct diesel engines would suffer a vast reduction in demand which in turn would lead to job losses. The new boat market would also suffer, demand would drop. The manufactures would be stuck with trade in diesel engined boats that no one would want. It would be inevitable that job losses would follow. People would move towards smaller faster petrol engined boats increasing concerns with boat safety and environmental pollution.
Withdrawing the derogation would push domestic diesel well above the prices in France and Holland increasing the temptation to move UK based vessels to the other side of the channel.
The price differential would also prove to be a huge disincentive for any continental boats visiting the UK.

The Re-enjoining businesses which rely on a large number of petrol to diesel conversions would disappear overnight with more job losses.

What of the marina operators, the harbour authorities along with the hundreds of small marine engineers and associated marine workers, what would happen to them and to all of their workers and suppliers? Most people can service a petrol engined boat, but diesel engine servicing is considerably more complex and specialised.

The fuel suppliers would also suffer, more costly risk assessments would need to be carried out, the outcome of these assessments would mean more stringent health and safety regulations being put in place. Petrol is a dangerous highly volatile fluid, carrying hundreds of gallons of petrol in fibreglass boats at speeds in excess of 40-60mph are like flying bombs. Carrying the same amount of diesel is just dead weight and therefore not dangerous in the least, in fact if my memory serves me well I am sure I remember reading that the ice cold diesel carried in the South Atlantic during the Falklands war was actually responsible for extinguishing fires as its flashpoint was so low.

My final remark is this. We are already taxed far too heavily, the money raised by taxation is very often poorly spent. The bureaucracy involved in today’s politics is insane, our pensions have been demolished by this arrogant chancellor who rides roughshod over the ordinary person in the street, the greed of the pension supplier goes unpunished. We invite unskilled unemployed people to our country and then pay them to remain here. If our tax was spent more wisely I would probably not be writing this letter, but to face yet another tax on a minority would be unbearable. I wonder what would happen if Government was privatised, I bet half of the wasters would be out of a job.

Yours Sincerely

Malcolm Heaver

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01-05-04, 06:58

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01-05-04, 09:46
Whilst an excellent letter, and BTW, thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to write it and post it here as well, nonetheless we should be mindful of the recipient. It's a tad unreasonable to expect a busy MP (or any major official) to wade through a long letter - however well crafted.

"We" must be succinct and to the point and avoid descending into a rant about other unrelated issues.

For example, how many of you have written an email (or letter) listing a number of points only to have the first one addressed? I find that people only read the first few lines.

That's why this is only a short post /forums/images/icons/smile.gif.


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03-05-04, 20:46
I notice that your Profile is incorrect, you say "Sussex, Great Britain, Europe" EUROPE, YOU'VE GOT BE JOKING/forums/images/icons/laugh.gif/forums/images/icons/laugh.gif

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04-05-04, 13:55
Quote: I notice that your Profile is incorrect, you say "Sussex, Great Britain, Europe" EUROPE, YOU'VE GOT BE JOKING EndQuote

Absolutely, especially in the current context.

How silly of me - 'twas intended for transatlantic readers, who sometimes have difficulties knowing where one is....

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