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Stanlow Oil Refinery chiefs ‘hold crisis talks with HMRC over £223m VAT bill amid fears of collapse’


Britain’s second largest oil refinery is in crisis talks with tax officers amid fears it may very well be on the brink of collapse.

Bosses behind Stanlow Oil Refinery, in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, are in pressing talks with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over a £223million VAT fee.

The refinery, which has been underneath monetary pressure throughout the Covid pandemic, wants to start out repaying the bill this week until it will possibly agree a brand new deal, in response to the Sunday Times. 

Owned by the billionaire Ruia brothers, Shashi and Ravi, by way of their firm Essar Oil UK, the refinery provides a couple of sixth of Britain’s street gasoline. It can be provides jet gasoline for Manchester and Birmingham airports.

Around 900 individuals are employed immediately on the refinery and round 800 contractors additionally work on website.

It additionally comes as Britain faces a gasoline crisis, with the petrol stations having to close and panic shopping for erupting after petrol chiefs introduced they must shut pumps as a knock on from the UK’s lorry driver scarcity. 

Bosses behind Stanlow Oil refinery (pictured), in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, are said to be in urgent talks with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over a £223million VAT bill

Bosses behind Stanlow Oil refinery (pictured), in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, are mentioned to be in pressing talks with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over a £223million VAT bill

Shashi Ruia

Ravi Ruia

Owned by the billionaire Ruia brothers, Shashi (pictured left) and Ravi (pictured proper), by way of their firm Essar Oil UK, the refinery provides a couple of sixth of Britain’s street gasoline. It can be provides jet gasoline for Manchester and Birmingham airports.

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The refinery’s VAT bill constructed throughout the pandemic underneath the Government’s Covid VAT deferral scheme. 

The scheme, launched in March final 12 months, allowed corporations to defer VAT funds to assist companies keep afloat throughout the first Covid lockdown.

But companies had been ordered to both pay again the cash by March 2021, be part of an curiosity free instalment scheme stretching to June, or make preparations with HMRC to push again the funds.

Essar Oil UK is claimed to have taken benefit of the scheme, to the tune of £356million. 

It entered right into a time-to-pay (“TTP”) association with HMRC for a complete of £770million in April 2021. 

Forecourt fury turns violent as drivers queuing to replenish trade blows, whereas elsewhere motorists fill jerry cans and BP, Esso, Shell and Texaco restrict drivers to £30 every 

Furious motorists had been seen combating because the nationwide rush for gasoline continued yesterday, amid requires calm from the Government as a result of lower than 100 petrol stations are empty.

Shocking footage confirmed panic consumers punching and kicking at one another throughout a violent brawl at an Esso petrol forecourt in Sidlesham, Chichester, as roads had been left gridlocked and police needed to be known as in to marshal drivers.

Two males had been seen grappling earlier than throwing punches at each other, whereas one other enraged motorist launched a flying kick at one other man because the scramble for gasoline turned violent within the sleepy West Sussex village.

Thousands of determined drivers ignored Government pleas for calm as they jammed roads – with fears mounting over the affect of lasting gasoline shortages on the financial system.

Photographs yesterday online displaying drivers stocking up on gasoline. Just one per cent of Britain’s petrol stations are empty, in response to gasoline bosses.

Some had a number of jerry cans within the boot of their automobiles and hung out filling every up whereas others queued for hours to succeed in the pump. Meanwhile, round 400 stations owned by the EG Group are limiting clients to £30 price of petrol to offer everybody a ‘truthful probability to refuel’.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson revealed a visa U-turn for five,000 international truck drivers to attempt to stem the scarcity.

There are presently about 8,350 filling stations within the UK and fewer than 100 of them have been pressured to shut because of shortages. However, the Petrol Retailer’s Association has warned the scenario may worsen earlier than it improves.

BP mentioned round 20 of its 1,200 petrol forecourts had been closed because of a scarcity of accessible gasoline, with between 50 and 100 websites affected by the loss of at the very least one grade of gasoline.

A ‘small quantity’ of Tesco refilling stations have additionally been impacted, mentioned Esso proprietor ExxonMobil, which runs the websites. 

President of the AA Edmund King reiterated on Saturday there there ‘is lots of gasoline on the supply’ and no have to refill.

The firm says it has paid again £547million leaving a stability of £223 million – which should be paid by January subsequent 12 months. 

Payments are because of start this week. They are because of coincide with an finish to the Government’s suspension on winding-up petitions. 

However the corporate says the financial restoration has been ‘slower than predicted’ and it’ll subsequently not make the fee and that it was in talks to ‘modify that schedule’.

‘Therefore EOUK in discussions with HMRC over a brief extension to make these deferred VAT funds,’ a spokesman advised MailOnline.

‘Those discussions are optimistic and EOUK appears to be like ahead to a decision quickly,’ the spokesman added.

In an announcement, EOUK mentioned: ‘EOUK has made optimistic adjustments to its inner governance in latest months, having adjusted its board, constituted an Advisory Council, appointed a brand new unbiased director and has adopted the Wates rules. 

‘It continues to work with main advisers, together with E&Y. Since the refinery was acquired by Essar, Essar has invested greater than $1 billion within the refinery and is dedicated to growing initiatives that assist its imaginative and prescient for a low-carbon future.’

However, sources have reportedly advised the Times that until that refinery can discover additional cash that it’ll doubtless go into insolvency and be taken on by the Official Receiver to maintain the refinery working.

A Government bailout already been dominated out, in response to the Sunday Times. Ernst & Young Global Limited (EY) has additionally been introduced in to advise the agency on what to do subsequent, the paper provides.  

HMRC and EY have additionally been contacted for remark, however haven’t despatched a response in time for publication.

It comes amid panic petrol panic following BP’s choice to close some of its stations because of provide chain points impacting on getting gasoline to pumps.

Meanwhile, greater than 10,000 short-term international visas will probably be fast-tracked by the Government as ministers rush to resolve the availability chain crisis that is threatening Christmas.

5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry employees will probably be given extraordinary three-month visas permitting them to work within the UK till Christmas Eve.

The transfer comes amid a nationwide panic-buying spree at petrol stations and rising concern inside Downing Street that grocery store cabinets may stay barren till Christmas.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps mentioned the adjustments, with the visas accessible from subsequent month, would ‘guarantee preparations stay on observe’ for the festive season.

But the Road Haulage Association warned the announcement ‘barely scratches the floor’, whereas the British Chambers of Commerce mentioned the measures had been the equal of ‘throwing a thimble of water on a bonfire’.

Retailers had warned the Government that it had simply 10 days to avoid wasting Christmas from ‘vital disruption’ because of a shortfall of about 90,000 drivers within the freight sector.

It comes as 1000’s of determined drivers ignored Government pleas for calm as they jammed roads – with fears mounting over the affect of lasting gasoline shortages on the financial system.

Furious motorists had been seen combating on Saturday because the nationwide rush for gasoline continued amid requires calm from the Government as a result of lower than 100 petrol stations had been empty.

Shocking footage confirmed panic consumers punch and kick at one another throughout a violent brawl at an Esso petrol forecourt in Sidlesham, Chicester, as roads had been left gridlocked and police needed to be known as in to marshal drivers.

Two males had been seen grappling earlier than throwing punches at each other, whereas one other enraged motorist launched a flying kick at one other man because the scramble for gasoline turned violent within the sleepy West Sussex village.

5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers will be given extraordinary three-month visas allowing them to work in the UK until Christmas Eve

5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry employees will probably be given extraordinary three-month visas permitting them to work within the UK till Christmas Eve

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (above) said the changes, with the visas available from next month, would 'ensure preparations remain on track' for the festive season

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (above) mentioned the adjustments, with the visas accessible from subsequent month, would ‘guarantee preparations stay on observe’ for the festive season

A major shortage of HGV drivers threatens to wreak havoc this winter, and the shortage has been exacerbated by a huge backlog in HGV tests due to Covid

A significant scarcity of HGV drivers threatens to wreak havoc this winter, and the scarcity has been exacerbated by an enormous backlog in HGV exams because of Covid

The scarcity of HGV drivers has lengthy threatened to wreak havoc this winter, and it has been exacerbated by an enormous backlog in HGV exams because of Covid, in addition to international drivers returning house amid the pandemic and Brexit. 

Industry teams the Food and Drink Federation and Logistics UK each welcomed the visa adjustments, with federation chief Ian Wright calling the measures ‘pragmatic’.

But British Chamber of Commerce president Baroness McGregor-Smith mentioned the adjustments had been the ‘equal of throwing a thimble of water on a bonfire’, and that  the 5,000 new visas could also be too little, too late to halt the chaos.    

Meanwhile, Marc Fels, director of the HGV Recruitment Centre, advised BBC Breakfast the transfer was ‘too little, too late’.

He mentioned: ‘Every extra driver that’s coming into the sector for the time being goes to be of profit.

‘But I really feel that is too little, as a result of the numbers coming in, 5,000, just isn’t going to make a really massive dent on the 90,000-100,000 that we’re perceived to be quick.

‘And too late as a result of we now have been understanding these issues have been coming as early as April this 12 months, so we’re shifting into October and solely now are the Government developing with these options when this has been a problem since April.’

Read More at www.dailymail.co.uk

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