The Freight Transport Association has called on the Chancellor to abandon plans for an above-inflation fuel tax increase this year in its pre-budget submission.
It is feared that the budget, due on 24th March, could include a fuel duty rise of 3.5 pence per litre.
The FTA’s submission calls for tax on diesel and gas oil to be left unchanged this year and supports actions to introduce a fuel price stabiliser, provided it can be made to work for the industry.
Chief economist Simon Chapman said: “Political instability in other countries and the impact this has on the price of a barrel of oil is beyond the Chancellor’s control. However, the level of tax he then heaps on top of it is certainly not.
‘The Budget needs to prioritise measures which create an economically sustainable environment in which businesses have confidence in the future. The planned fuel duty hike is simply a revenue raising ruse. It offers no benefit to the economy, serving only to push up costs and inflation and erode competitiveness.”
The FTA also wants a lorry road user charge ensure that foreign hauliers pay their way on UK roads.
And it called on the government to take the lead in encouraging the logistics sector to consider low and zero carbon vehicles.
“Companies should be incentivised to switch from conventional but trusted diesel-engine vehicles to low or zero carbon vehicles which are, after all, untested and represent a bigger commercial risk. At the same time, trucks are an anywhere, anytime service and depend upon a comprehensive refuelling infrastructure on the road network,” said Chapman.