Chambers of commerce including that for Bedfordshire and Luton, road hauliers and other business members from around the country have signed the letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling, which has been co-ordinated by the Chamberâ€™s umbrella body the British Chambers of Commerce.
The government has controversially planned an increase of 2p per litre on fuel duty, which hauliers and road-dependent businesses around the country say is “completely unwarranted”” and could cost the haulage industry an estimated Â£170 million.
The letter states that the impact of the decision will severely damage the UK’s haulage industry, which is already battling against the staggeringly high price of oil and a duty rise from last October.
It goes on to say that in order to remain competitive, chambers and their members would welcome the opportunity of working with government in developing “”an alternative pricing system which separates the way fuel tax is levied for cars as opposed to commercial vehicles.””
One Bedfordshire haulier said: â€œThis will have a marked knock-on effect for us. If hauliers have to increase their prices then we will be forced to increase our prices to customers.
â€œWhy doesnâ€™t the government understand that by increasing the cost of fuel they effectively cause inflation? Suppliers have already increased the price of fuel and this tax increase will only make matters worse.â€
Chamber chief executive Richard Lacy added: â€œThe ability for hauliers to compete with other European firms is looking increasingly threatened, especially considering the UK economy faces a slowdown in 2008.
“”The government must urgently reconsider this unnecessary rise in fuel tax to protect hauliers and businesses who use the roads on a daily basis.â€
Hauliers have calculated that April’s tax hike, which looks set to be followed by yet another in 2009, would add an extra Â£15,000 in costs per vehicle per 100,000 miles on the road. “