Saturday, February 5, 2011

After Freight And Haulage Groups Now Coalition Faces MP's On Monday Over Fuel Price

Scots and Welsh Will Accuse Government of Breach of Promise
Shipping News Feature

UK – Just once a year do the parties who represent their respective assemblies in Scotland and Wales get to put an unequivocal point to the government of the day. The annual Opposition Day debate is scheduled for the afternoon of Monday 7th February and after furious objections from freight and haulage representatives over the past few weeks, a coordinated campaign by the FairFuel UK organisation (specifically formed to object to rising diesel costs) and other petitions by various elements of the press, it could be a difficult day for parliamentarians.

The united forces will present a real problem for the coalition as not only logistics and the cost of distributing freight by truck are on the agenda; the Welsh and Scottish MP’s represent many rural communities where motorised transport is often essential and individual citizens face extra VAT as well as the already imposed and proposed duty increases.

Representatives from freight transport groups such as the Road Haulage Association (RHA) will be present in the chamber to hear the debate in what may be the last opportunity before the March budget to present the case for reducing duty levels, which opponents say was a commitment by the Conservative-led coalition government with its pre-election pledge to establish a fuel duty regulator. SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said:

"A Fuel Duty Regulator - which the Tories supported before the election - would bring duty down when oil prices go up. Cutting fuel by 10p per litre in Scotland would only cost about half of the estimated £1 billion in extra revenue the Treasury is set to rake in as a result of rising oil prices. It's a national scandal that in Europe's oil-richest country, Scots are paying among the highest fuel prices."

Plaid Cymru spokesperson for Transport, Jonathan Edwards MP, said:

"Plaid Cymru and the SNP recognised this problem long ago - we pushed for it in Budgets in 2005 and 2008 with widespread support from real people outside Parliament. Unfortunately, Labour stubbornly ignored the problems of rising fuel prices while the Conservatives scared of supporting our idea decided to steal it, water it down and re-brand it as their own.

“There has been a massive hike in the cost of fuel recently, not all of it down to the rising cost of oil. The Tory-led Government's VAT increase and fuel duty hike have pushed the price of a litre up by at least 3.5p in the last month alone. Businesses and especially families in rural areas, especially in many parts of Wales, where a car is a necessity not a luxury are those who are facing the pain because of these choices.

“For the short-term we need to have a fuel duty stabiliser and a special price for fuel in rural areas, but we also need to diversify and invest in renewable energy alternatives to reduce our reliance upon oil and other fossil fuels.”

You still have the chance to support the case for a reduction in the cost of fuel to bona fide logistics companies by signing the FairFuel UK petition HERE.