The Freight Transport Association represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. FTA members operate over 200,000 goods vehicles – almost half the UK fleet. In addition, they consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and over 70 per cent of exports using sea and air freight services.
On 21 March FTA will be running its Budget Desk providing information, analysis and reaction to the Chancellor's statement and its effect on industry's transport operations.
Ahead of the Budget, FTA has stressed the following industry concerns to the Chancellor's Treasury taxation team:
– The Chancellor should resist adding further cost to road and rail carriers in the UK through higher levels of diesel duty and gas oil duty.
– Any future increases in fuel duty should be signalled well in advance to enable carriers to budget accordingly.
– UK lorry VED rates should be left unchanged. These are already among the highest in Europe and any increase would directly impact upon the cost base and thus the competitiveness of UK-based carriers.
– The Government collects £5.5 billion in diesel duty and lorry VED from hgvs each year.
– The Government collects £43.5 billion in tax each year from all road users.
– A one pence per litre increase in fuel duty would cost industry an extra £150 million per year.
– UK diesel duty is still double that of the Netherlands and nearly triple that of Greece.
– One in seven of the heaviest trucks on UK roads is foreign registered. These vehicles contribute nothing towards the costs they impose whilst in the UK in terms of road wear and air quality.
Truck operating costs
– Fuel costs represent 30 per cent of the costs of running a 44 tonne lorry.
– Although bulk diesel prices have temporarily stabilised at around 73-74ppl in recent months, world oil prices remain at a historically high level – $62 per barrel on 1 March 2007 compared to $49 per barrel on 1 March 2005.
Congestion and transport investment
– The Government spends just £7 billion a year on national and local roads infrastructure investment.
– Roads congestion costs UK industry £20 billion a year.
– Over the last ten years road traffic has grown by 16 per cent but total road length in Great Britain has only increased by 0.4 per cent.