FTA urges Chancellor for ‘eleventh-hour’ fuel duty reprieve Mon Aug 31 11:07:00 BST 2009

"Many companies in the logistics sector are at breaking point, but the Chancellor can provide a real lifeline if he stops this rise – the third since last December – from going ahead. With oil prices already rising and many businesses on their knees as a result of the recession, is this really the best time to be increasing fuel duty, again?"

Jo Tanner, Director of Communications

Leading trade body the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is urging the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give the UK logistics sector an eleventh-hour reprieve and abandon tomorrow’s two pence per litre fuel duty increase. Without it, the logistics sector will be shouldering an £810m burden, thanks to three hikes in less than a year.

Jo Tanner of the FTA said:

“Many companies in the logistics sector are at breaking point, but the Chancellor can provide a real lifeline if he stops this rise – the third since last December – from going ahead. With oil prices already rising and many businesses on their knees as a result of the recession, is this really the best time to be increasing fuel duty, again?”

The number of HGV drivers claiming for Jobseekers’ Allowance has risen by an eye watering 258 per cent between July 2008 and July 2009, with many other jobs in the logistics sector also in jeopardy. There is continued concern within the sector that we have yet to see the worst of the recession’s impact and, while some commentators may be talking the economy up, the reality for the logistics sector is very different. FTA is also angered by the Government’s reliance on ‘greenwash’ as a reason to increase the tax burden on the sector.

Tanner concluded:

“For an industry with little in the way of green shoots to shout about the last thing we need is greenwash. While higher fuel costs may force private motorists onto public transport, logistics doesn’t have that luxury. We’re already at the forefront of reducing emissions, both through more fuel-efficient driving and by using newer, greener vehicles. The irony is that, if the Government keeps increasing fuel duty, our members will be less able to invest either in the training of their drivers or in their fleet. We’re always going to be caught in a Catch-22 situation, and we’ll continue to be the Government’s cash cow.”

FTA is calling on the Government – and its political opponents – to be more radical and adopt a lower rate of duty for commercial vehicles than that levied on private motorists. This would not only allow the UK to compete more effectively in European road transport markets and allow companies to invest further in their fleets, it might also mean the difference between employment and unemployment for thousands of workers. 

Notes for editors

Fuel duty rose by 2 pence per litre on 1 December 2008 and by a further 1.84 pence, to 54.19 pence per litre, from 1 April 2009. The Chancellor also announced that the main fuel duty rates would increase by inflation plus one penny per litre from 2010 to 2013.

Earlier this month the Transport Select Committee called on the Government to be more honest about the rationale behind transport taxes and avoid environmental reasoning to justify this revenue raising mechanism. Indeed, if there were an environmental element to fuel duty, the UK logistics sector would be well within its rights to look for a rebate: it already makes great efforts to keep its emissions as low as possible, and is actually far greener than the Government had itself projected.

 

FTA Press Office

01892 552255
press.office@fta.co.uk

FTA Press Office

01892 552255
press.office@fta.co.uk