HC Deb 14 May 1998 vol 312 cc191-2W
Mr. Beggs

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what action is being taken by Her Majesty's Government to protect legitimate petrol and diesel fuel retailers in Border areas and throughout Northern Ireland from disadvantageous trading conditions arising from(a) the difference in value of sterling and the punt, (b) fuel duty differentials between the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic and (c) bulk fuel deliveries into Northern Ireland from the Irish Republic. [41389]

Mr. Battle

The main problem affecting legitimate retailers of petrol and diesel in Northern Ireland is smuggling of duty paid fuel across the border for onward sale. The Government, Customs and Excise and the other authorities in Northern Ireland are fully aware of the problem.

Customs are deploying resources and actively mounting investigations against those involved to counter the threat posed to revenue and to the Northern Ireland business community. Customs are taking the lead on this issue but are acting in conjunction with other authorities, including the Royal Ulster Constabulary, to make seizures of oil tankers and vehicles carrying oil tanks filled with illegally imported fuel for resale. Wherever possible, cases are progressed with a view to criminal prosecution of the individuals concerned.

Back to