The Labour Party’s plans to impose a £12,096 a year lorry tax per truck would penalise British business, says The Freight Transport Association (FTA). The plans were mooted by Clive Lewis, a member of the Shadow Treasury team, last week and, according to FTA, are based on inaccurate information.
In his comments, Clive Lewis quotes research that claims HGVs currently only pay 11 per cent of their UK road infrastructure costs. But if you look closer at the figures, this is inaccurate. Christopher Snelling , Head of UK Policy at FTA, which represents more than 17,000 logistics businesses nationwide, explained: “FTA is appalled at this short-sighted policy and calls on Clive Lewis to reconsider any potential changes to lorry taxation. The claim that HGVs only pay 11 per cent of their UK road infrastructure costs is false – between the highest fuel duty of any major economy in the world, the HGV Road User Levy, VED and road tolls, HGVs in fact currently pay enough tax and charges to cover over 90% of the UK’s entire road maintenance budget.”
Total UK spending by all authorities on highway maintenance (including bridges, footpaths etc) was £4.7bn in the financial year 2015-16; tax take from HGVs alone covered almost 94 per cent of this cost.
Snelling continued: “Britain needs HGVs to deliver nearly four million tonnes of goods every day in order to function. Everything that makes operating a lorry more expensive makes Britain a less competitive place to do business and increases the cost of goods in the shops.”
He concluded: “There are smart ways to work to reduce the environmental footprint of HGVs and make logistics more efficient, that could benefit us all. Blunt tax hikes are the opposite of that and would change nothing while hurting the economy.”
Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.
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