Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Road Haulage and Freight Interests Side with SNP to Warn Chancellor Over Fuel Duty

A Freeze Would be Nice - A Cut Would be Better - and Post Budget Finance Bill Looms
Shipping News Feature
UK – On the eve of this week’s budget freight interests have called on Chancellor Osborne to resist the temptation to raise the rate of duty on fuel as wholesale prices remain at a lower level. Stakeholders in the road haulage industry were joined by all Scottish SNP MPs in a call for the status quo. Earlier this week the Freight Transport Association (FTA) wrote a pre-Budget submission to Mr Osborne saying a reduction in fuel duty would make an important contribution towards protecting the UK economy.

In its submission the FTA outlined the results of independent research which showed that a cut in duty would deliver significant economic benefits, and suggests that freezing fuel duty would boost household spending power by over £5 billion. Karen Dee, FTA Director of Policy commented:

”FTA has welcomed the Government decision not to go ahead with any increases on fuel duty in the last Parliament, which has provided much-needed economic relief, not only to the logistics sector, which faces continuing difficult trading conditions, but also to the wider motoring public who rely on their cars to get to and from work. As the UK economy continues on its path to recovery, this move provides just the kind of stability needed to give businesses the confidence to invest in their futures, to the benefit of the wider economy, customers and their employees.”

The FTA’s submission also included the need to address a continued skills shortage in the freight and logistics industry, the importance of investing in infrastructure, and highlighted measures that it believes are necessary to ensure that the industry can continue to play its role in supporting the economy as it grows.

The FairFuel UK approach was a little more direct, with Founder Howard Cox and Lead Campaigner and motoring journalist Quentin Willson lining up outside Parliament to press their case. Howard Cox said:

"On the eve of the Budget, the pressure on the Chancellor from MPs from all Parties to at least freeze fuel duty is mounting, including a rapidly growing group from his own back benches. The numbers are stacking up fast to defeat any duty rise in a post Budget Finance Bill. We've been told by a very Senior MP close to the Cabinet that our campaigning is working and to keep it up. Any increase will precipitate the mother of all campaign battles to bring back economic sanity to an out of touch Chancellor."

Speaking alongside SNP Spokesman Stewart Hosie MP his point was supported by Quentin Willson who added:

"Raising fuel duty on Wednesday carries a huge political risk. As well as looking like an opportunistic tax grab, the Chancellor faces a sizeable MP rebellion, the SNP have just pledged support for FairFuel. This could defeat the Finance Bill, tread carefully Chancellor"

Photo: SNP Spokesman Stewart Hosie MP flanked by FairFuel UKs, Quentin Willson and Howard Cox.