The Road Haulage Association is disappointed at today’s news that although the Chancellor confirmed his pledge to freeze fuel duty until next year, he did not see fit to go one step further and implement a duty rate reduction. RHA Director of Policy Jack Semple said: “UK fuel duty is still by far the highest in the EU, adding costs to businesses and to everything we buy, quite apart from the burden on UK hauliers. The RHA has been lobbying long and hard, along with FairFuelUK, to head off any duty increases. Of course we welcome today’s freeze, but we consider that more could have been done.
“FairFuelUK’s sustained campaign, backed by the Road Haulage Association, has already seen duty held back by 13 pence a litre, compared with the course set by the Treasury in spring 2010. Hauliers remain under intense pressure on costs and the cumulative impact of the past five years on the road haulage community, for hauliers and their drivers, has been severe. Demand for road haulage services is still well below 2007/8 levels. Hauliers must be able to reinvest in their businesses with modern vehicles – a reduction in fuel duty today would have meant they would have been more able to afford to do so.
“However, we welcome a number of other measures announced today, including increased resources to tackle fuel fraud”, Jack Semple continued. “This is a measure on which we have been calling for some time. We also welcome the news on business rates and we will be reviewing the impact of freezing the duty differential between diesel and methane (natural gas and bio-methane). This will have an immediate significant cost benefit to very large companies but it is clear to us that the government had given little consideration as to how this will impact those SMEs who may be unable readily to use methane. This is the first time the government has, in effect, discriminated between operators on a major area of cost. We also note with concern the lack of a more detailed statement of policy or objectives in the uptake of methane in the road haulage sector”.