Hauliers call on MPs to cut fuel duty
More than 300 hauliers have called on the government to take swift action to cut fuel duty, stimulate the economy and save haulage businesses.
Led by campaign group FairFuelUK (FFUK), with support from the FTA and RHA, hauliers entered the House of Commons en masse last Wednesday to vent their frustrations to MPs at the crippling costs record fuel prices are having on their businesses.
One owner-operator told CM.com that she was considering closing the business unless MPs cut fuel duty. Christine Jones, of East Grinstead-based P Jones Haulage "We are debating as to whether to throw the towel in. We have been driving for 42 years. And the Government does not seem to want to listen, they are blind."
FFUK handed in a report by the Centre for Economic and Business Research that shows an immediate 2ppl cut in fuel duty would create 180,000 jobs and provide a 0.33% GDP boost at no additional cost to the Treasury.
National Fair Fuel Day took place exactly two weeks before Chancellor George Osborne unveils his Budget. Last year he cut fuel duty by 1ppl and froze any further duty rises. A total of 9ppl in duty rises were postponed or scrapped. However, a 3.02ppl rise is planned for August.
Later, hauliers and lobbyists gathered for a rally in the House of Commons where Conservative MP Martin Vickers voiced his support for the campaign. “The Treasury will only act on evidence and the evidence in this report is quite compelling. The government is in a deep financial hole and money is in short supply. But this does not mean we should stop our hard work.”
FFUK spokesman Quentin Willson says the government has to address the way it looks at tax. “This is about [the government giving] a message. Say we are cutting fuel duty because it is not good for our economy. Say we are taking an advanced, shrewd and clear look at this to sell it to the electorate. Say you are lowering fuel duty to reverse the damage being done.”
FTA national policy director Karen Dee says that if the government was to cut duty it would be “of positive economic benefit” and would give “operators the ability to compete”.
RHA chief executive Geoff Dunning praised the turnout and hauliers for initiating “democracy in action”.
“The past 15 months have been effective. Those price rises would have happened if it wasn’t for FFUK. With the number of people who attended today they hopefully saw some 250 MPs. That means they know the big issue is fuel.”