The Freight Transport Association says that the Governments abandonment of its plans to distance tax lorries under the Lorry Road User Charge scheme is totally unacceptable – the Government has walked away from its promise to level the playing field and to charge foreign lorries for operating in the UK, in the same way that UK vehicles are charged for operating in Europe.
At the same time it has withdrawn from the opportunity for commercial vehicle to be charged fuel duty at a different rate than that for cars. The FTA says that despite all of the imperfections of the LRUC scheme as presently designed, the scheme would have delivered the crucial benefit of providing a structure for the potential reduction of fuel duty for lorries, thus reducing the enormous burden carried by the UK road transport industry which currently pays 47.1 pence per litre for diesel against a European average of just 22.0 pence per litre.
FTA Chief Executive Richard Turner says “We have been working with the Government before and since the fuel crisis of 2000 in seeking a means of bringing UK road freight transport closer into line with our competitors from Europe. Although the LRUC scheme contained a number of problems in which we were engaged with Government in endeavouring to simplify it would have provided the critical prize of tax separation. This afternoon’s statement gives us no present prospect of a solution to our high tax problems in the transport industry.
“Lorry Road User Charging was not about congestion management but all about taxation – whether for foreign lorries in the UK or for tax levels for UK goods operators. This afternoon’s announcement seemed to be about congestion management rather than taxation and we are left high and dry with a continuing tax regime featuring by far the highest levels of taxation of any transport industry in Europe.
“Although this afternoons other statement that fuel duty will be frozen at current levels and not increased on 1 September as had been planned is welcome it by no means compensates for the prospects which the transport industry now faces of many future years without lower taxes for lorries and all of the competitive problems which that will continue to present.”
Source: Freight Transport Association