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As one of the largest and busiest providers of lorry and coach driver training in the UK, we spend a lot of money on fuel to keep our late-model vehicles running for training purposes. We are no different from any other company in the transport and haulage industries in that we would have benefited from a reduction in the fuel duty. Unfortunately, Chancellor George Osborne made no mention of a fuel duty reduction in his autumn statement, something the Freight Transport Association (FTA) called a ‘missed opportunity’.

Before the 2015 Autumn Statement, the FTA had issued a submission to the government with suggestions pertaining to fuel duty, the driver shortage, and infrastructure investment. It was hoped that while the latter two items on the list were not likely to be addressed by the Chancellor, he would at least take the opportunity to act on a fuel duty reduction. FTA director of policy Karen Dee made it clear that her organisation was not pleased.

“The lack of recognition of the importance of reducing fuel duty is a missed opportunity by the Government in the Autumn Statement today,” she said in an official statement. “The 3p per litre reduction would have provided much needed economic relief – not only to the logistics sector, which faces continuing difficult trading conditions but also to the wider motoring public who rely on their cars to get to and from work.

It would appear that any hope of a fuel duty reduction will have to wait until spring at the earliest. Meanwhile, the haulage and transport industries will continue to pay fuel charges that only make doing business more expensive. Fuel duty costs, as always, are eventually passed on to consumers who pay for them through higher retail prices.

Benefits of a Fuel Duty Reduction

The FTA and others argue that the fuel duty reduction would be a huge benefit for the entire economy. That effort would begin with a haulage sector that transports as much as 70% of all the freight moved throughout the UK. Lower fuel duty means lower operating expenses for haulage firms; lower operating expenses automatically translates to lower retail prices.

A lower fuel duty would also be beneficial in that the money saved on fuel charges could be invested in other parts of a company’s business operations. What starts out as a small benefit could eventually balloon, stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. In all likelihood, the fuel duty reduction would benefit everything from coach driver training to the local neighbourhood supermarket you visit on the way home from work.

We would love to be able to adjust our pricing structure for lorry and coach driver training as a result of having to pay less in fuel duty charges. We are confident most other companies feel the same way. We want to be able to use our resources to better our business and the economy as a whole rather than constantly paying the government.

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