Chancellor Alistair Darling’s failure to reverse the trend for above inflation increases in diesel duty in his Pre-Budget statement, was described as frustrating by the United Kingdom Warehousing Association.
“The industry has long been urging the government to cut the duty on fuel which is taking so much out of our sector. However, it was perhaps over-optimistic to expect any favours from an administration that, throughout its 12 years in office, has consistently increased the burdens of taxation and bureaucracy on a sector which has always worked on a small profit margin”, said UKWA chief executive officer, Roger Williams.
James Hookham, FTA’s Managing director of policy and communications, said: “Given the Chancellor’s previous form we were not overly optimistic about a U-turn in the above inflation fuel duty rises already planned until 2013. After all, the road transport sector has long been a tempting target for revenue raising, which is made more vulnerable in times of crisis.
However, the FTA said it was comforting to see that the government has heeded industry’s warnings about protecting key infrastructure projects.
UKWA also condemned Darling’s decision to raise National Insurance contributions by one per cent as “an attack on jobs.”
The decision to extend the Empty Property Rates holiday for sites with a rateable value of less than £18,000 (up from the previous £15,000) was welcomed by UKWA.
“Although the relief will remain largely irrelevant to our members, the fact that the government has taken this decision appears to be an admission that the changes to the Empty Property Rate rules which were introduced some 18 months ago and resulted in empty warehouses becoming liable for the same rates as occupied buildings, are unhelpful. We will continue to urge the government to reintroduce EPR relief on a broader basis,” said Williams.