The United Kingdom Warehousing Association – the trade body representing some 700 companies in the third party logistics (3PL) services sector – has expressed frustration at Chancellor Alistair Darling’s failure to reverse the trend for above inflation increases in diesel duty in his Pre-Budget statement.
"The industry has long been urging the Government to cut the duty on fuel which is taking so much out of our sector. However, it was perhaps over-optimistic to expect any favours from an administration that, throughout its 12 years in office, has consistently increased the burdens of taxation and bureaucracy on a sector which has always worked on a small profit margin", says UKWA chief executive officer, Roger Williams.
UKWA’s chairman, Derrick Potter, founder and chief executive of The Potter Group, commented: "The Government’s failure to address the fuel duty issue means that foreign haulage firms – many of whom arrive in Britain with their vehicles filled with enough cheap fuel for a week’s work in the UK – will continue to take business away from their British counterparts."
The Association also condemned Alistair Darling’s decision to raise National Insurance Contributions by one per cent as "an attack on jobs."
"Any measure that makes employing people more expensive is clearly counterproductive to the needs of our members as the logistics industry struggles to move out of recession," said Roger Williams "The move to increase NI contributions will hardly encourage job creation in the months ahead."
UKWA conditionally welcomed the decision to extend the Empty Property Rates (EPR) holiday for sites with a rateable value of less than £18,000 (up from the previous £15,000). Roger Williams commented: "Although the relief will remain largely irrelevant to our members, the fact that the Government has taken this decision appears to be an admission that the changes to the Empty Property Rate rules which were introduced some 18 months ago and resulted in empty warehouses becoming liable for the same rates as occupied buildings, are unhelpful. We will continue to urge the Government to reintroduce EPR relief on a broader basis."