Hauliers being hit hard by fuel prices

A MASSIVE increase in the cost of unleaded petrol since the start of the year risks putting hauliers out of business, it has been claimed.

Anthony Bond

A MASSIVE increase in the cost of unleaded petrol since the start of the year risks putting hauliers out of business, it has been claimed.

The average price for a litre of unleaded petrol in Suffolk is now about 104.78p, an increase of 17.8p since January. This is expected to rise even further in coming weeks.

And with the Government pushing through with its controversial 2p-a-litre rise in fuel duty next week, hauliers in the county are concerned for the future.

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Peter Butler, Suffolk area manager for the Road Haulage Association, said the 2p rise next week will add an extra �1,500 a year to running costs for an average lorry.

“It is horrendous,” he said. “Who is going to pay this increase? As a haulier you have just got to absorb it but the haulier will pass it on to his customer who will pass it onto his customer and so we will all pay more.

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“The Government cannot grasp the fact that it is fuelling inflation and if you reduce the cost of fuel you reduce the cost of delivering everything and therefore the prices in shops should come down.

“A lot of hauliers are saying that one more rise in price could put them out of business and it is not just the small hauliers, it is also medium and large companies that are suffering.”

The average price of petrol in the UK has now pushed past the 105p-a-litre mark for the first time since mid October last year. The AA has warned that this increase, coupled with the fuel duty increase next week, will result in a two-car family paying an extra �10 a month.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “If the Government had told every family that relies on its cars to go to work, take the kids to school and go shopping that, by the end of August, their monthly budget would shrink by �10, there would have been uproar. Town centre managers who will see thousands of families spending a tenner less a month must be wondering when this constant drain on business is going to end.”

A spokesperson for the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) said: “The PRA does not believe that this is the right time for a duty increase. If VAT does rise at the end of the year, as it is expected to, the petrol price will rise again so the Government will have increased the price twice in less than three months.

“We have been calling on the Government to defer the increase until the economic situation improves.”

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