Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Road Freight Interests Well Represented as Haulage Bosses Meet Minister in Fuel Talks

Fair Fuel UK Continues to Press for Reduction in Diesel Price
Shipping News Feature

UK – As our recent article stated road freight interests were well represented when the FairFuelUK campaign group met with Chief Secretary of the Treasury, Danny Alexander on the 29th of October to discuss the impact of Fuel Duty on the UK economy. Along with the Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) Geoff Dunning, the campaign group delivered a copy of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) report on which the discussion is based on. Dunning said:

“The Minister listened carefully to what we had to say. He was also pleased to receive a copy of the report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), commissioned by the RHA, which pulls no punches regarding the case for urgent action over fuel duty”.

The report states that the 3p per litre duty rise will cut 35,000 jobs whilst reducing growth by 0.1% and goes on to state that every household will feel an even greater strain on finances and speculates that the Bank of England could be forced to raise interest rates earlier than expected. The solution that the RHA-funded report puts forward is a 3p per litre cut in fuel duty which it calculates could create 70,000 jobs and boost the economy by 0.2%, which is essential at a time when financial growth is critical, and reduce the fiscal position by £1800 million, significantly less than the £3 billion the Treasury would expect. Mr Dunning continued:

“We left the Treasury team in no doubt as to the plight of both the motorist and the haulier and it is now vital that we see a stop to an increase in January. We made our case clearly, and honestly. To have the additional backing of a professional report that presents a firm and positive case to address fuel duty as a matter of extreme urgency strengthens our case for action.”

Quentin Willson, motoring journalist and a FairFuelUK campaign delegate, this week predicted in a blog post that the campaign has got a 70% chance of getting the planned 3p litre rise in duty planned for January deferred. Talking about the meeting with Danny Alexander, Willson said:

“Mr Alexander is a politician with an economics background and rural constituency who clearly understands what high fuel costs do to remote communities and struggling businesses. Unlike so many other MPs and Ministers he didn't trot out the usual dreary stuff about appeasing 'motoring groups' or 'concessions for car drivers', but simply understood that raising duty means raising the prices of nearly everything we do and buy in the UK.”

Photo: The Minister (right) receives the NIESR report from Quentin Willson