HAULIERS and business leaders in Stafford are demanding a cut in fuel duty to combat rising prices at the pumps.
Both petrol and diesel reached record highs earlier this week and Chancellor George Osborne is coming under increasing pressure to reduce the tax on fuel in Wednesday’s budget.
North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sara Williams, who covers Stafford, said the current level of taxation is creating diffculties for local firms trying to compete with foreign rivals.
In a statement to Mr Osborne, she said: “The rising cost of fuel is driving up inflation and damaging the haulage and logistics sectors which are vital to the North Staffordshire economy.
“Our members report that fuel duty increases have added in excess of 3.5 per cent to their costs over the past twelve months, making it more difficult for them to compete with their continental rivals who are paying significantly lower prices for diesel.
“To assist our hauliers, and the manufacturers and support services that depend upon them, we urge you to consider the introduction of sector specific relief for haulage and logistics firms with vehicles in use under Operators’ Licenses. This would add very little bureaucracy and could be administered via an additional box on the VAT return.” Average petrol prices reached a record of 137.79p a litre earlier this week, with diesel at an all-time high of 144.92p.
According to price check site petrolprices.com, the average price of unleaded fuel in Stafford is 136.8p.
Craig Douglas, director at S T Douglas Transport on the Tollgate Industrial Estate, said his firm has joined the Fairfuel UK campaign - the group which is lobbying MPs for a cut in fuel duty.
He said: “Fuel is now half of our costs of running our vehicles - which is way too high. We need a reduction and are looking for as much backing as we can.
“We need fuel to run our business and if the price of delivering goods is going up then we have to pass that on to the supermarkets, which in turn affects the price of food.”