By Max Clarke

There is still time for the Government to abandon the next increase in fuel duty planned for April 1st and put in place a fuel price stabiliser to keep fuel costs down, says the British International Freight Association (BIFA)

April 1st will see the 10th hike in fuel duty since March 2007, adding to the base cost of all of Britain’s road freight transport.

Peter Quantrill, BIFA Director General says: “There is still time to reverse this further handicap to running competitive freight services in this country. Many of our members are paying over 130p per litre for diesel. They are at the heart of international trade, exporting goods from the UK, often by road services, and bringing foreign goods to the UK, again often by road services, as well as positioning freight to air and seaports.

“BIFA members suffering because of ever-rising fuel costs, and duty increases, leaves me wondering whether those in Government really understand and value the essential role of the freight forwarding industry. I appreciate that the world oil price is high, but Whitehall’s take is even higher. According to the Fair Fuel UK Campaign website, while the average EU duty on fuel is 31.15%, our members face Whitehall’s take of 58%. This means that our members are paying almost double the duty that European freight forwarders face.”

BIFA members often operate their own fleets of lorries and vans and will directly face paying the higher duty from April. Those members who utilise third-party trucking services face being surcharged as Britain bears the highest diesel taxes in Europe.

“We know these are difficult times for the British economy but this draconian duty rise, which will have to be passed along the supply chain to the end consumer, coming as VAT rises to 20%, inflation takes off and job worries rise, can only hurt our fragile recovery. The government must abandon this rise and put in place a fuel price stabiliser to bring some balance to the issue and enable our members to better manage fuel costs and remain competitive internationally.”