Fuel tax needs urgent reform, FTA tells Treasury21 June 2010

Fuel duty, road charging and decoupling duty for diesel for commercial vehicles were key agenda issues, when the FTA met Justine Greening MP, the new Economic Secretary last week.

Freight Transport Association CEO Theo de Pencier reports: "Justine Greening was … receptive to our criticism of the fuel tax policy, which has done such irreparable damage to the sector, and the economy at large, and responded well to our views on lorry road user charging, fuel tax and decoupling diesel duty for HGVs."

However, de Pencier believes there is a real risk that fuel duty will continue to be an easy target for policy makers. "Domestic vehicle operators have had to contend with by far the highest rates of duty in Europe during abysmal trading conditions," he observes.

"Yet, despite this, UK fleets remain by far the safest and the greenest. Clearly, our logistics sector deserves some credit for its efforts. A fairer approach to fuel tax would be an ideal place to start," he adds.

As for road charging, de Pencier says that FTA "is open minded", claiming that the current 'bring your own fuel policy' represents a loss to the Treasury of "over £200 million every year".

"A road charge could bring real benefits to the Treasury and the logistics sector – but industry needs to be involved heavily in its development," urges de Pencier.

"We are, of course, in favour of seeing foreign trucks pay their way, but we will be pressing the Department for Transport for more details on how this can be achieved equitably for UK hauliers," he adds.

Brian Tinham

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