Hauliers took to the streets of London again today (2nd July) in protest of the proposed increase in fuel duty and to support the Scottish National Party’s proposal of a fuel duty regulator.
Members of the Road Haulage Association, TransAction 2007 and the Transport Association, along with other industry bodies and hundreds of hauliers from across the UK, joined forces outside the Houses of Parliament this morning and were represented by more than 600 lorry drivers on the A40.
Speaking at the protest, Roger King, chief executive of the RHA, said: “If the government doesn’t address the problem there will be precious little of the road haulage industry left.”
The fuel duty regulator aims to offset the increase in VAT receipts received by government as a result of the rising price of fuel with a corresponding reduction in fuel duty, in order to stabilise costs for hauliers.
Scottish MP Stewart Hosie, who lead the debate in parliament this afternoon, urging front benchers to get on board, said the government earns more than £40 billion a year from off-shore duty and taxation.
He said: “There is a duty and obligation for the government to put back some of which they take out. If they don’t many companies in this lobby won’t be here in the Autumn.
“We need to persuade the opposition parties today and make the government see sense.”
Peter Carroll, spokesman for TransAction 2007, said the only way to succeed is to combine forces. “We need to have one camp, one voice and one message,” otherwise foreign competition will come in and destroy UK business.
Many members of the protest spoke to their local MPs this afternoon to highlight the issues in person.
Phil Waters of family-run business Water Bros Hauliers Ltd, said: “It’s going to get worse unless something is done. It is getting out of control. We’ve all got to stick together and fight for change or many businesses won’t still be here in six months time.”
Jason Dean of JCD Haulage, another family-run business, said his profits are down following the steep increase in fuel prices as he has been unable to pass the additional cost on. “There is nowhere for it to be absorbed. We are getting very little, very slowly”.
King made it clear that while the RHA supports the introduction of a fuel duty regulator it “is not an ultimate solution”.
In the long term the organisation is calling for a single fuel duty throughout Europe for all professional users to pay, regardless of whether they operate on road, rail, sea or air.
He also highlighted the difference in price between diesel and petrol, which costs 15 pence per litre more, suggesting that changes need to be made to ensure parity between the two.
“We will go on fighting as we know what we want is right and absolutely essential,” he concluded.