The Road Haulage Association has pleaded with the Chancellor not to target the commercial vehicle drivers keeping the country going.
The appeal came after reports suggested that fuel prices could be going up following next month’s budget.
RHA asked Rishi Sunak to consider the effect that a fuel duty increase could have on the country’s drivers.
The association says that many individuals are struggling and it would be unfair to tax them further.
Commercial vehicle drivers have been responsible for nationwide delivery of food stocks, PPE and fuel during the pandemic. They are now also playing a vital role in the rollout and delivery of vaccine stocks.
“Last April we asked industry as a whole to how it was coping,” said RHA chief executive Richard Burnett. “The results were startling – 50% of the UK’s trucks were laid up, either as a result of contracts ending or drivers being laid off, or furloughed.
“Those able to carry on picked up a lot of the slack,” he recalled. “Although it was never ‘business as usual’ they did their best to ensure the UK didn’t go without.”
FairFuelUK’s Howard Cox added the Chancellor is “risking political suicide by breaking Boris’s promise that duty wouldn’t be hiked”.
Cox said the answer was to incentive, not punish, the people who are at the heart of the recovery.
“Any rise in fuel duty would generate extraordinarily little revenue, but would risk jobs and hike inflation,” he said.
He added it would also stagnate business investment with the poorest catastrophically hit hardest.
Picture credit: Stephen Dewhurst/Shutterstock.com