Britain’s Road Haulage Association (RHA) is urging the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) to cut fuel duty in his imminent annual budget.
The RHA cites the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), which it says, confirms raising duty on diesel or increasing Vehicle Excise Duty on trucks would cost businesses and families GBP9.3bn (US$9.9bn) across the current Parliament to 2020.
“We are pleased the FairFuelUK-commissioned research confirms this year’s low oil and fuel prices have resulted in an increase in business investment, lower production costs and improved household spending across the entire UK economy,” said RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett.
“But if these important improvements are to be maintained, it is crucial the Chancellor announces a fuel duty cut in his Autumn Statement.
“If the UK haulage industry is to continue delivering daily life to every household, we need to get an extra 45,000 to 50,000 drivers behind the wheel. To achieve this, the industry needs GBP150m of government funding to be paid directly to UK hauliers to support an emergency programme of training. Moreover, we can clearly demonstrate that the Chancellor will be able to nearly double his investment.
“This emergency funding would be self-financing for HM Treasury. The new driving jobs would not only generate additional income tax and national insurance; the need for additional trucks could generate up to GBP275m in fuel duty revenue. In addition, the extra investment in UK skills would reduce the industry’s reliance on drivers from abroad, which the RHA estimates leads to approximately GBP180m per annum being sent back to drivers’ home countries.”
The RHA maintains at GBP0.57 per litre, UK-registered hauliers pay the highest levels of diesel duty in the EU.
In Luxembourg, where many international transport firms draw fuel, the duty level is GBP0.23 per litre. Even net of the one-off investment in training called for by the RHA, UK hauliers will still be paying the highest duty level in the EU, claims the organisation.
“Government support for the industry on which the entire economy relies not only makes sense for growth – it can be self-funding and will boost Treasury coffers,” added Burnett.
“What better opportunity can the Chancellor possibly have to make such a good return on an investment?”