REBATE: FTA and RHA speak out
Fuel duty reductions must apply to all motorists rather than just those in ‘remote’ regions, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and Road Haulage Association (RHA) have insisted.
While welcoming the Treasury’s call for evidence to support fuel duty reductions in rural areas, both Associations claimed any rebate must benefit all UK motorists.
An island fuel rebate already exists, and the government are looking at extending the relief to quieter inland areas.
Petrol retailers and customers in 35 counties have been asked by the Treasury to provide details of prices they charge for petrol and diesel.
The RHA lobbied alongside the Scottish National Party for the economy-boosting island reduction, with the fuel duty discount pilot scheme for remote communities beginning in March 2012.
It applies to the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles, the islands in the Clyde and the Isles of Scilly.
Geoff Dunning, Chief Executive of the RHA, said: “We have reviewed the list of counties and districts that are under consideration for a duty reduction and find it bizarre that, for instance, while Devon is considered to be remote, Cornwall is not.
“Similarly, while the Isle of Anglesey is considered remote, the Isle of Man is not.
“In 2011/2012, the total tax take from UK road users amounted to £58billion pounds.
“Of that, over £36billion is from fuel duty and VAT on fuel.
“Surely if, as already stated, these proposed rebates are to help boost the economy, there can be little excuse not to reduce fuel duty across the board.
“A 5p per litre cut in fuel duty would equate to a £2,000 per annum reduction for a road haulier operating a typical 44tonne articulated truck.
“The long term knock on effects of this would far outweigh any temporary Treasury loss and would ensure the financial stability the economy so desperately needs.”
Meanwhile, the FTA said they are pleased about how the proposed fuel duty cut would help stimulate growth in the rural economy.
However, they insisted the government should make the duty cut across the UK, claiming the reduction should not just be applied to rural drivers.
James Hookham, Director of Policy and Communications at the FTA, said: “Today’s announcement by the Treasury is clear recognition that the government accepts the need for a cut in fuel duty.
“The proposed ‘rural’ 5p per litre cut will obviously help the UK’s rural economy, but FTA strongly believes that this should not be introduced purely in rural areas but insists it should be applied across the country.
“If 5p a litre cut will stimulate the growth in rural areas, just think what it could do if applied across the country.
“FTA has long campaigned for a cut in fuel duty as a way help encourage growth in the economy.
“We know from our members that spiralling fuel costs are bad for businesses, hauliers and road users, and can have a devastating impact on haulage businesses, their customers and ultimately everyone through the prices on the shelves.”