Transport sector jobs at risk thanks to fee and duty hikes Thu Mar 19 14:50:00 GMT 2009

"A couple of pence here and there may not seem like much, but when you’re already working to the tightest of margins, every penny counts. "

Theo de Pencier, FTA chief executive

Transport sector jobs could be at risk if plans to increase fuel duty and Government agency fees go through: that’s the verdict of the Freight Transport Association as it launches a new postcard campaign.

The campaign, called Every Penny Counts, calls for a moratorium on both fuel duty increases and hikes in fees levied by the Department for Transport’s executive agencies.

FTA figures show that the planned 1.84 pence per litre (ppl) increase in fuel duty, inflation-busting fee hikes and other discretionary levies will land businesses with an additional bill for £1,500 per truck. For those organisations running a fleet of vehicles, this soon adds up to the equivalent of someone’s wages.

FTA chief Theo de Pencier said:

“A couple of pence here and there may not seem like much, but when you’re already working to the tightest of margins, every penny counts. Businesses are already struggling as a result of the recession, and these planned increases really kick the sector when it’s down. Laying off staff is always the last resort, but for some companies they’ve been given Hobson’s choice: pay the increases and risk having to sack your workforce, or don’t pay and see your fleet taken off the road. It’s a lose-lose situation.”

The logistics sector, which directly employs 2.3 million people, is faced with an eye-watering nine per cent increase in fees levied by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, part of the Department for Transport, to test its vehicles. Despite inflation likely to go negative over the coming months, operators are being expected to find the extra cash at the same time as seeing levels of business reduce dramatically.

de Pencier continued:

“We are not asking for a bailout from the public purse. We’re simply asking for a moratorium on increases in fuel duty and discretionary fees from the Government. This is a far cheaper solution than having to deal with the fallout of mass redundancies in the logistics sector.”

Notes to Editors

1. Those working in and around the logistics sector are being encouraged to send an Every Penny Counts postcard to their MP.   Postcards are being distributed through key trade publications.

2. MPs’ names can be found easily using the FTA’s constituency locator tool on its website.

3. The postcard urges MPs to sign Early Day Motion (EDM) 994 to show their support for logistics companies across the UK. The EDM reads: That this House supports the goals of the Every Penny Counts campaign which is supporting jobs and businesses in the road freight sector; notes that the success of the British economy is dependent on the success of its logistics sector, which directly employs some 2.3 million people and indirectly supports the work of many millions of others; recognises that the current economic downturn has had a severe and highly damaging impact on the logistics sector, causing insolvencies in the sector to double from fourth quarter 2007 to fourth quarter 2008; notes with concern that increases in costs to the logistics sector's operations, such as increases to fuel duty and road vehicle testing charges are specifically targeting UK logistics companies that are struggling to stay afloat; and calls on policymakers to give greater priority to the impact of economic measures on the freight sector before more companies are forced out of business and more jobs are lost.

4. The £1,500 per truck additional burden on businesses is broken down as follows:
1.84 pence per litre rise in diesel duty from 1 April 2009 - £917.00
Loss of Reduced Pollution Certificate Vehicle Excise Duty incentive for Euro 5 - £75.00
Nine per cent increase in Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA) test fees - £21.28
Loss of test lane capacity from VOSA stations - £127.74
Above inflation increase in Driver Standards Agency (DSA) fees - £1.40
Above inflation Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) fees - N/A
Medical test fees for drivers over age 45 - £6.00
Additional staff training costs linked to Driver Certificate of Professional Competence - £33.95
Unnecessary and erroneous ticketing of delivery vehicles by Civil Enforcement Officers - £364.00
Total - £1,546.37

5. The campaign is also supported by the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association.

6. An image of the postcard is available in various formats on request from Jackie Langridge on 01892 552253, email or Liam Northfield on 01892 552255, email



FTA Press Office

01892 552255