Scilly Fuel Retailer Wants Rebate Scheme Extended To Boats

sibleys pumpsAn Isles of Scilly fuel retailer says the government’s fuel rebate scheme should be extended to boat fuel.

The 5p per litre discount on road fuel was introduced here in March 2012 and on Thursday, the government announced it will extend the scheme to cover some rural areas on the mainland, including Cornwall.

But Ian Sibley from Sibley’s Fuel and Marine Services says boat fuel is just as essential as petrol for cars here in Scilly.

He’s lobbied our MP Andrew George on the matter and while Ian says he was sympathetic and promised to pass on the comment to Treasury Minister Danny Alexander, he’s heard nothing back yet.

Mr George, whose constituency also covers St Ives and Penzance, says he’s always argued that the launch of the scheme in Scilly was merely a small trial prior to a wider role out. He feels the scheme helps compensate rural dwellers for the lack of subsidised public transport available in urban areas.

But there are mixed views on the islands as to how much impact the scheme has actually had.

Local freight handler, Richard Hand, says the saving helps a great deal, especially for a company like his that uses a lot of fuel.

“Fuel is one of our major costs,” he says, “so a slight reduction goes a long way.”

However, Steve Sims, who operates the community bus on St Mary’s says he’s hardly been aware of the saving, which for him amounts to about £5 every 10 days.

Island Rover tour operator Glynne Lucas echoed Steve’s response. He said that while 5 pence might have come off fuel, it’s gone up in other ways and it’s still much more expensive than on the mainland.

Ian Sibley, who operates fuel pumps at Porthcressa, doesn’t think the rural fuel duty relief has changed people’s buying habits.

“They buy what they need,” says Ian, “and the 5p relief, whilst welcome, isn’t fundamental to their decision making.”

Ian added that the paperwork involved in administering the scheme is quite demanding for a small business.

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