Theo de Pencier, chief executive of the Freight Transport Association, has called on the government to reform fuel taxes at a meeting with Justine Greening, economic secretary to the Treasury.
de Pencier set out the FTA’s case that as long as a single level of diesel duty for all road users is applied, the chancellor should resist the temptation to maintain a policy of above inflation increases in duty or risk putting the struggling sector under even greater strain.
“Domestic vehicle operators have had to contend with by far the highest rates of duty in Europe during abysmal trading conditions, 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.”
Theo de Pencier
After the meeting, de Pencier said Greening had been “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”.
The FTA believes that, with an enormous budget deficit to plug and tax revenues falling elsewhere as a result of the recession, there is a real risk that fuel duty will continue to be an easy target for policy makers.
The association has welcomed the government’s commitment to consider introduction of lorry road user charging.
de Pencier said: “A road charge could bring real benefits to the Treasury and the logistics sector, but industry needs to be involved heavily in its development from the outset. 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.”