Hauliers face fuel price hardship
By Dave GooderhamHAULAGE companies have warned more businesses could be forced to fold if fuel prices are increased.Hauliers across East Anglia have cut staff numbers and fleets in the wake of spiralling petrol prices and Government red tape.
By Dave Gooderham
HAULAGE companies have warned more businesses could be forced to fold if fuel prices are increased.
Hauliers across East Anglia have cut staff numbers and fleets in the wake of spiralling petrol prices and Government red tape.
Now the industry is bracing itself for further problems with an expected fuel increase in September and stringent new laws restricting work hours.
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Stanton haulier H Frost and Sons has cut its fleet numbers in half and lost eight members of staff through departures and retirements.
Company director, Colin Frost, said: “Our main problems have come from fuel duty which haven't been addressed since the fuel protests four years ago.
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“Our trucks use 1,000 litres of diesel a week at a cost of about £800 - £550 of that goes to the Government. Every job we do, we have to add VAT to pay the Government while we also have to pay road and insurance tax.”
The problems facing the industry could deepen in two months with Chancellor Gordon Brown expected to add 1.92p per litre on duty levels.
“If that happens, I think a lot more hauliers will throw the towel in,” warned Mr Frost.
“Now they are also trying to restrict our work hours with the European worktime directive, which will also have a detrimental affect on the industry.
“The Government say they are cutting red tape, but in fact they are adding to it - we are getting sick of it.”
Mr Frost said rising fuel prices and high taxes made it difficult for road transport contractors to compete with their European counterparts.
He has now met with West Suffolk MP, Richard Spring, who said he would be lobbying the Government to help the flagging industry.
Mr Spring added: “Road haulage has historically been a big business in East Anglia. However, it has become increasingly difficult for companies to break even as a result of various tax increases and red tape hindrances.”