Despite the fact George Osborne froze fuel duty for the sixth year in a row with his recent Budget, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) wrote to the Chancellor before this announcement to ask for a reduction, as it would make an important contribution towards protecting the UK economy.
The FTA outlined the results of independent research that suggested a cut in duties would deliver significant economic advantages. However, the announcement to freeze fuel duty will still boost household spending power by over £5bn according to the same research.
“Much-needed economic relief”
“FTA has welcomed the Government decision not to go ahead with any increases on fuel duty in the last Parliament, which has provided much-needed economic relief – not only to the logistics sector, which faces continuing difficult trading conditions, but also to the wider motoring public who rely on their cars to get to and from work,” said Karen Dee, FTA director of policy.
“As the UK economy continues on its path to recovery, this move provides just the kind of stability needed to give businesses the confidence to invest in their futures, to the benefit of the wider economy, customers and their employees.”
Skills and infrastructure issues
Along with calls to reduce fuel duty, the FTA’s submission also reiterated the need to address a continued skills shortage in the freight and logistics industry as well as the importance of investing in infrastructure.
Dee continued: “FTA’s recommendations in its submission to the Chancellor fall into three categories: helping the industry to tackle the current shortage of drivers; easing cost pressures on businesses and families by adopting a different approach to fuel duties; and delivering the improved infrastructure needed to ensure the UK remains competitive.”
Working alongside the Government
The FTA has already been working alongside the government to recognise and resolve driver shortages in the freight industry. This was top of the agenda during a meeting between the FTA and the Secretary of State for Transport in February. The FTA was encouraged by the Government speeding up HGV driver medical checks as part of the effort to increase the availability of qualified drivers.
"FTA is delighted to see that Secretary of State recognises the importance of our sector and that we were able to discuss and highlight the ways in which industry and Government can work in partnership to solve the driver shortage problem,” said David Wells, FTA chief executive.