09 Apr 2003

Motorists Set to Benefit From Tax Freeze - But Only in the Short Term

MOTORISTS SET TO BENEFIT FROM TAX FREEZE – BUT ONLY IN THE SHORT TERM

There is good news for the Northern Ireland motorist after the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a freeze on tax on petrol and diesel for six months, however Brian Donaldson warned motorists that the reprieve was likely to be temporary.

General Manager, Marketing and Retail of the Maxol Group and Director of the Oil Promotion Federation, Mr Donaldson said: “Whilst this reprieve is to be welcomed the Chancellor has intimated that he will place a tax rise of 1.28 pence per litre on the price of petrol and diesel at the pump from the 1st October should the price of crude oil stabilize. This will do nothing to solve the real problems faced by Northern Ireland's petrol retailers.”

“Retailers located close to the border continue to face difficult times as customers flow into the Republic of Ireland to avail of cheaper prices. This large differential in price only serves to aggravate cross border smuggling and encourage the illegal act of laundering and washing of fuel product.

“It should not be forgotten that the Chancellor is currently enjoying 72% on the price of unleaded petrol and 71% on the price of diesel through duty and VAT taxes”.

"As a company Maxol Oil has been instrumental in lobbying the government to highlight the ongoing problems faced by retailers and the motorist on the high levels of government tax on fuel in the Province. We will continue to do so until there is a reduction in the tax and duty payable on petrol and diesel in Northern Ireland and a level playing field for fuel prices has been created on the island of Ireland" said Mr Donaldson.

Ends
For further information please contact Pamela Beatty, Citigate Northern Ireland on 01232-395500.

Notes to Editors: Brian Donaldson, Director of the Oil Promotion Federation and Group Marketing Manager of Maxol Oil Limited is available for interview/comment on 07831-314751.
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