Fuel duty rise could cost thousands of jobs

Don't Drive Business to the Job Centre - FTA's Every Penny Counts CampaignLogistics Industry Calls on Government to Scrap Fuel Duty Rise as it could cost thousands of jobs nationwide

Thousands of transport sector jobs across the UK are at risk if the Government’s proposed fuel duty increase and hikes in operating fees come into force today (1st April 2009), according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

The planned 1.84p per litre increase in fuel duty and the eye-watering 9% increase in fees levied by the Department for Transport to test haulage vehicles could land businesses with an additional bill of £1,500 per truck. For those organisations operating a fleet of vehicles, this soon adds up to the equivalent of someone’s wages.

The proposed plans could leave many companies having to choose between sacking their workforce and taking a fleet off the road. It will also have a knock on effect on hundreds of other companies in the logistics sector, which directly employs 2.3 million people, in areas such as haulage, storage and warehousing. This sector is already struggling as a result of the recession.

The logistics industry and motorists will not be the only ones to notice the fuel duty increase. Many businesses will have little choice but to pass on costs to consumers, which could mean a rise in the price of any consumer product that needs transporting.

The FTA is launching a new campaign, Every Penny Counts, which calls for a relief on both fuel duty increases and hikes in fees levied by the Department for Transport.

FTA chief Theo de Pencier says,

"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. 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."

"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."

The Every Penny Counts campaign has already received support from a number of high profile MPs – including Lembit Opik and Anne Widdecombe. Now the British public, along with those working in the logistics sector, are being encouraged to show their support by sending postcard (available on the FTA ‘ s website) to their local MP to ask them to support Early Day Motion 994 (Jobs & Businesses in the UK Logistics Sector).

To sign up for the Every Penny Counts campaign visit www.fta.co.uk/epc

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