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The Burns inquiry receives a positive response from the Chancellor

The Burns Inquiry has culminated in a full report presented to government ministers in November. The Inquiry has since received a very positive response from the Chancellor in his pre-budget statement to the House of Commons yesterday.

Chairman Robbie Burns welcomed the positive response by the Chancellor on fuel duty that has been frozen at its current level until at least March 2006. ”Although UK fuel duty is still the highest in Europe, this at least provides much needed breathing space for an industry under pressure from rising fuel costs, commented Robbie Burns.” The Burns Inquiry was set up
by the Road Haulage Association and Freight Transport Association to provide evidence of the damaging effect of high fuel duty and foreign competition on the road haulage and distribution industry in the UK.

Presenting a strong case to ministers recently, The Burns Inquiry has also gained significant support in Whitehall for the setting up of a ‘joint taskgroup’ to examine the plight of the road haulage industry. The joint task group will further assess how the pressures identified by the Burns Inquiry
compare with other sectors that face foreign competition and rising costs. Detailed Terms of Reference will be agreed with Ministers this week.

“I am delighted that the Treasury has recognised the need to act on these two key issues that are adversely affecting the UK road haulage and distribution industry, ” commented Robbie Burns. We must ensure that an
agenda is set which is relevant, measurable and reflects some intent on the part of government to take action within a sensible time period.”

Robbie Burns, however, warned against: more talk and more comparisons in themselves not helping very much. Ultimately the joint task group activity must lead somewhere and have a degree of transparency in the work being
done.

The Burns Inquiry report is available on www.freight taxes.co.uk. Further evidence can also be posted on the website and companies with issues they
want to put in the public domain can continue to do this.

The Burns Inquiry was set up by the Freight Transport Association and the Road Haulage Association to be an independent inquiry to update the evidence of the damaging effects of high levels of fuel duty and foreign competition
on the UK road freight industry. It can be contacted by email
evidence@freight-taxes.co.uk, through its website www.freight-taxes.co.uk,
by post PO Box 259, TN2 9BS, by telephone 08700 113331 or fax 08700 116516.

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