Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Freight and Road Haulage Groups Lobby Over Fuel Again

Day of Action in London Next Week
Shipping News Feature

UK – Freight haulage campaigners will meet the Government this week to once again appeal against the proposed rise in duty on road fuel. The FairFuel UK group has called for individuals and company representatives alike to join a protest at Westminster on the 7th March 2012 dubbed ‘National Fair Fuel Day’. Representatives from the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Freight Transport Association (FTA) are backing the call to suppress duty levels on fuel in the Budget due on the 21st March.

The objectors are likely to meet an intransigent Chancellor who has already been persuaded to postpone previous increases but a league table on the Fair Fuel UK site shows the country topping a Europe wide look at duty rates with a figure of 57.95pence per litre, way above the EU wide average, excluding the UK, of just 33.85 ppl. RHA Director of Policy Jack Semple, commented:

“Diesel has never cost so much and there is nothing the industry can do about it. This is bad news for customers because haulage rates simply have to keep pace with rising costs. For a typical articulated lorry, diesel represents at least 35% of operating costs.

“Inevitably, rising transport costs push up the price of everything we buy, including food and clothing. There is a clear message for companies buying transport – you must pay a sustainable haulage rate”.

“There is also a message for the Chancellor which we will be pressing again at the Treasury. The duty on diesel, already much the highest in Europe, should be reduced in the up-coming Budget; and it is inconceivable that he should go ahead with the 3.02 pence a litre increase planned for August.”

A pressure group representing both road freight and other groups will meet with Treasury Minister Chloe Smith to deliver an independent report which they say proves their case and demonstrates that further rises will harm the UK economy and further benefit foreign hauliers who fill up cheaply abroad before deliveries and collections in Britain meaning unfair competition. The Chancellor’s representative will undoubtedly point out that the proposed Eurovignette scheme is designed to iron out such anomalies.