FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham says: “Naturally, we are pleased with the Chancellor’s decision not to increase fuel duty in line with inflation, as previously planned.
“The freeze will save truck operators – the majority of which are small and medium businesses – about £9,000 a year for a typical 10-vehicle fleet.”
However, Hookham adds that a cut in fuel duty would have boosted Britain’s economy by reducing costs for transport operators and putting money in people’s pockets.
Indeed, FTA has consistently called for a 3p per litre cut in fuel duty, which would deliver around £1,500 annual saving on the running cost of a 44 tonne truck.
“Fuel duty has moved from being a ‘sin tax’, like alcohol and tobacco duty, to being recognised as a core burden,” says Hookam. “The Chancellor needs to continue that logic and recognise that reducing tax duty in future will bring even greater benefit to the economy.”
Beyond that, the RHA (Road Haulage Association) and others point to the Chancellor’s commitment to an additional £1.1bn investment in local transport networks in England as good news – particularly the £220m earmarked to address traffic pinch points.
“Any measures to make [hauliers] journeys easier, more efficient and more cost effective will contribute greatly to the movement of the UK economy and help ease the cost of congestion,” comments RHA chief executive Richard Burnett.
However, he adds that the news of Insurance Premium Tax rising by 2% comes as a disappointment – adding only that it will, to some extent, be offset by the fuel duty freeze.
Meanwhile, SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) chief executive Mike Hawes welcomes the government’s commitment to investment in R&D.
“One of the main areas in which UK automotive is playing a leading role is the development and introduction of low-emission and connected and autonomous vehicles,” states Hawes.
“The Chancellor’s announcement of £390 million will help promote our competitive advantage in these fields. We welcome the investment to enhance the charging network for electric vehicles, as well as further support to boost uptake of low emission buses and taxis.