The Treasury has refused to make concessions for the events industry and said it will press ahead with preventing the use of rebated diesel (known as red diesel) and rebated biofuels in generators and site plant machinery at events from 1 April.

It a letter dated 29 March to National Outdoor Entertainment Association (NOEA) president Tom Clements, Exchequer secretary to the Treasury Helen Whately said that having assessed the case made by the events sector to retain its red diesel and biofuel rebate entitlement, the Government did not believe it was compelling enough to outweigh the need to ensure fairness between the different users of diesel fuels, the Government’s long-term environmental objectives and the need for the tax system to incentivise the development of greener alternatives to polluting fuels.

Her response also cited previous support for the events industry, including the £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund. She said the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme supports live events such as music festivals, despite the scheme having been publicly dismissed by the sector as being not fit for purpose due to there being no coverage against cancellation due to a key person, such as an artist, getting Covid.

As a result of the removal of fuel rebates, event organisers are expected to see their fuel bills rise by at least 50% from 1 April.

Red diesel and some biofuels, including hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), are currently taxed favourably in comparison to the white diesel used in road vehicles. The rebated fuels affected by the changes are:

Rebated diesel

Rebated Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO)

Rebated biodiesel and bioblend

Kerosene taxed at the rebated diesel rate

Fuel substitutes