Transport sector jobs could be at risk if plans to increase fuel duty and Government agency fees go through: that's the verdict of the leading trade body the Freight Transport Association (FTA) as it launches a new postcard campaign.
The campaign, called Every Penny Counts, calls for a moratorium on both fuel duty increases and hikes in fees levied by the Department for Transport's executive agencies.
FTA figures show that the planned 1.84 pence per litre (ppl) increase in fuel duty, inflation-busting fee hikes and other discretionary levies will land businesses with an additional bill for £1,500 per truck. For those organisations running a fleet of vehicles, this soon adds up to the equivalent of someone's wages.
FTA chief Theo de Pencier said:
“A couple of pence here and there may not seem like much, but when you're already working to the tightest of margins, every penny counts. Businesses are already struggling as a result of the recession, and these planned increases really kick the sector when it's down. Laying off staff is always the last resort, but for some companies they've been given Hobson's choice: pay the increases and risk having to sack your workforce, or don't pay and see your fleet taken off the road. It's a lose-lose situation.”
The logistics sector, which directly employs 2.3 million people, is faced with an eye-watering nine per cent increase in fees levied by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, part of the Department for Transport, to test its vehicles. Despite inflation likely to go negative over the coming months, operators are being expected to find the extra cash at the same time as seeing levels of business reduce dramatically.
De Pencier continued:
“We are not asking for a bailout from the public purse. We're simply asking for a moratorium on increases in fuel duty and discretionary fees from the Government. This is a far cheaper solution than having to deal with the fallout of mass redundancies in the logistics sector.”