The Government is committed to tackling fuel fraud. HMRC’s oils fraud strategy has seen the UK tax gap for fuels reduce from £1.5bn in 2002 to less than £100m in 2015-16. In Northern Ireland, where this issue has been a particular problem, the illicit market share has been reduced from 26% to 8% over the same period. However, the government recognises there is no room for complacency.
One form of fuel fraud is fuel laundering – the removal of chemical dyes and covert markers from rebated fuel to give the appearance of legitimate road fuel. To tackle this problem, the UK, together with the Republic of Ireland introduced a new fuel marker from 1 April 2015.
Since its introduction, HMRC have been monitoring the performance of the new marker and published evaluation reports after 6 months and 12 months. In the 12 month report, the government committed to publish a further report covering the first two years of the marker. I will deposit a copy of HMRC’s evaluation, based on the first 24 months’ worth of data, in the Library of the House.
The review suggests that in the two years since its introduction, the new marker had a positive effect in preventing fuel fraud through laundering. HMRC will continue to monitor the performance of the fuel marker and will take any further action as required.