The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, yesterday (9 March 2023) announced her decision to raise Light Dues by four pence to 45 pence per net tonne for 2023-24.
In her written statement, the Minister said:
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 strong 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 31 per cent in real terms since 2010.
The unprecedented impact of the pandemic and the reduction in Light Dues income make an incremental rise in 2023-24 necessary.
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 four pence to 45 pence per net tonne for 2023-24.
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.
The Northern Lighthouse Board has a statutory duty to collect General Light Dues from vessels calling at UK and Irish ports. Light Dues collected are paid into the General Lighthouse Fund under the stewardship of the Department for Transport. The fund finances the work of the Northern Lighthouse Board (Scotland and the Isle of Man), Trinity House (England, Wales, the Channel Isles and Gibraltar, and Irish Lights (the whole of Ireland).
Light Dues is a tax and the rates are set annually by the respective Shipping Ministers of the UK and Ireland.