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FTA - No support for fuel protests. May 25, 2004
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FTA Press Release

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FTA - No support for fuel protests
May 25, 2004

The Freight Transport Association says that although its members, operating over 200,000 lorries, are angry at the Government’s high fuel tax policy they will not participate in demonstrations or blockades which would disrupt fuel supplies. FTA members’ anxiety is to deliver the goods, whether to industry customers or private consumers, and they will not support actions that inhibit fuel supplies to the disadvantage of goods vehicle operators or the general public. They will not demonstrate against Government policy by taking actions that will hurt customers. However, there can be no doubt that the current high level of fuel prices is a major problem for the whole of UK industry, specifically for the transport industry, and ultimately for the whole population.

FTA has called for a temporary reduction in the high level of fuel duty paid in the UK and believes that dealing with current high oil prices is more important that the prospect of the scheduled duty increase of 1.9 pence per litre in September. Massive hikes in the price of oil in the past weeks have seen pump prices rise to well over 80 pence per litre – an increase five times that of the one planned by the Chancellor.

FTA Chief Executive Richard Turner said, ‘The Chancellor has scheduled a 1.9 pence per litre increase in fuel duty for 1 September 2004, but fuel costs have already risen by five times this amount. I am confident from the long-term dialogue FTA has had with the Treasury that no government would increase fuel duty if prices remain at this level.

‘Our focus instead must be on how the impact of the massive upturn in energy costs will affect business and everything we do now. We must ensure that UK maintains its competitiveness and ability to operate in the short-term. If the 10 pence rise in fuel prices persists, or increases, UK industry will have to shoulder extra costs of over £1.35 billion – that is nearly £5,000 on the annual operating cost of the largest articulated truck. There is nowhere else for this extra cost to end up than with the consumer.

‘FTA has therefore asked Government to consider making a temporary reduction the existing high level of taxation for truck fuel to take the heat out of the current prices. 10 per cent of the price of every product bought in a supermarket is the costs of the transport to get it there. If fuel prices rise by 10 pence per litre, this will put transport costs up by 5 per cent and, on average, will up the cost of everything we buy in the shops by half a per cent.’

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