Fuel duty hikes are still off-limits for Chancellor, warns FTA

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has issued a warning to its members that the Chancellor could announce increases in fuel duty in his Budget Statement on July 8.

FTA has also renewed its support for the successful FairFuelUK campaign that it founded with the Road Haulage Association (RHA) in 2011.

James Hookham, FTA’s deputy chief executive, said: “During the election campaign, the political parties ruled out increases in just about every other tax except fuel duty.

“We know there will be no rise in income tax, National Insurance or VAT. That leaves fuel duty looking vulnerable to future increases but that would be a huge mistake for the Chancellor to make at this stage in the economic cycle.

“With crude oil prices expected to reach $70 a barrel in the next few weeks and the UK economy not growing as quickly as anticipated in the first quarter of 2015, it would be wrong for George Osborne to believe that business transport users and millions of van owners were potential sources of new tax revenue.  The Government must not raid road users to fund its election promises.”

FTA, together with its partners in the FairFuelUK campaign, is renewing its call for a 3p a litre cut in duty to help sustain the fragile economic recovery.  This would put an extra £360 million into thousands of businesses that rely on commercial vehicles and boost their cash flows and investments, particularly in small and medium-sized companies.

Hookham concluded: “Recent falls in the cost of crude oil have had only a limited impact on UK fuel prices.  That’s because over 60% of the bulk diesel price is fuel duty and the UK has had to pay more for its oil as the pound has weakened against the dollar since last summer.

“The reality is that a 40% drop in crude oil prices has only resulted in an 11% decrease in bulk diesel prices paid by a majority of truck fleets and even lower reductions at the forecourt as retailers have sought to increase their margins.

“The Chancellor needs to understand that fuel duty is still off-limits as he considers his Budget Statement in July.”

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