Disappointment after fuel duty freeze rather than cut

FairFuel UK (FFUK) has said it is "massively disappointed" by Chancellor George Osborne's decision to freeze rather than cut fuel duty.

In the Autumn Statement today the Chancellor confirmed he had cancelled the planned 2ppl increase in fuel duty that was set to come into force next September 2014, as previously promised.

Howard Cox, head of FFUK (pictured), confirmed the campaign would continue to fight for a reduction in the cost of fuel at the pumps. Their had been specualtion that a cut might be offered today, although Cox had previously told CM that next year's pre-General Election Budget remains its key focus.

The Freight Transport Association, a FFUK backer, said a freeze was "good but not good enough".

The Pallet Network-member Transervice Logistix tweeted @rtm_CommMotor in response to the freeze:  "It is not a result for the industry, we need a reduction in duty!"

However, Steve Bowles, MD at Roy Bowles Transport, tweeted: "A great result for British hauliers and British industry."

FFUK backer The Road Haulage Association added that while a freeze was welcome, a cut would have been better.

A14 toll proposal scrapped

The government is to scrap plans for a toll on a new stretch of the A14, a move that has been welcomed by freight groups and businesses in East Anglia.

The £1.5bn cost of the A14 upgrade in Cambridgeshire will now be paid for by the government.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “The A14 is a crucial link to the haven ports – which are predicting a three-fold increase in throughput by 2030.  We’ve listened to the consultation responses, and we’ve come to the decision that when this road goes ahead in three years time there will be no toll. This will not lead to any delay in delivery and the cost will be covered by government.”

Malcolm Bingham, head of road network management policy, at the Freight Transport Association said: “At last, common sense has prevailed regarding the A14 tolls. The FTA believes that this can only be good news for businesses in the area by improving vital infrastructure which supports the local economy and provides a vital strategic national link.”

Meanwhile Road Haulage Association southern and eastern regional director John Howells said: “We have been against the suggestion since it was first raised nearly two years ago.

“It would have meant a tax on the economy of East Anglia and Suffolk as hauliers would have had to pass on the additional costs. In addition, it would have greatly undermined the competitiveness of the Port of Felixstowe and other ports in the region by adding to the cost base of haulage to and from the port.

“We at the RHA launched our own campaign against this proposed tax and supplied, free of charge, over 4,000 stickers to members and non-members alike to display on their vehicles. It is encouraging to know that our message has been noticed and acted upon.”