The statement made by Robert Courts, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 11 February 2021.
A strong and growing maritime industry is vital to the economy of the United Kingdom and it is critical that we treasure and protect this vital artery if we are to remain a world-leading maritime centre.
The work of the General Lighthouse Authorities, which provide and maintain marine aids to navigation and respond to new wrecks and navigation dangers in some of the busiest waters in the world, is crucial to underpinning that vision whilst maintaining our vigorous safety record and continuously improving safety standards.
Light dues, which are paid by the shipping industry such that the General Lighthouse Authority’s costs are met without the need to call on the UK Exchequer, have reduced by 40% in real terms since 2010.
The unprecedented covid-19 pandemic has, however, added additional operational costs and resulted in a significant reduction in light dues income reflecting the major impact it has also had on the industry.
To ensure the General Lighthouse Authorities have the funding they need to complete their vital maritime safety work I have, therefore, made the difficult decision to increase the light dues rate by one penny to 38.5p per net registered tonne for 2021-22.
Light dues will continue to be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that the General Lighthouse Authorities are challenged to provide an effective and efficient service which offers value for money to light dues payers.