Blue chips warn fuel tax will boost inflation

THE COUNTRY'S largest blue chip companies are predicting "serious consequences" for inflation if the Government persists with a plan to increase fuel tax every year.

Companies such as Marks & Spencer, ICI and BP are funding a pounds 1m Freight Transport Association (FTA) campaign launched yesterday to persuade the Government to drop the "fuel duty escalator" and to reduce vehicle excise tax.

The association, whose members operate 200,000 lorries accounting for nearly half the British fleet, poured scorn on ministers' assertions that the policy would reduce harmful exhaust emissions.

Increasing costs for British operators simply meant that continental hauliers took their place, many of whom operated vehicles which did not meet UK standards on exhaust emissions and which used "dirty" diesel still available in Europe, said David Green, director-general of the association.

"The idea that major UK companies need to be hit with punitive fuel taxes to encourage them to be efficient and avoid unnecessary lorry journeys is silly and insulting," Mr Green said.

The yearly rises in fuel costs planned by the Government would mean transport costs in Britain by 2002 would be 20 per cent higher than in continental Europe, he argued. "The policy should be scrapped as soon as possible."

The conservative FTA refused to back protests this summer by truckers which caused congestion around the M25 and in central London. However, association officials point out that it is the first time it has become involved in such a high-profile political campaign.

Richard Turner, deputy director-general of the association, said that if the policy continued after 2000 it would cost each vehicle operator a minimum of pounds 800 a year per vehicle and pounds 1,500 a year for the heaviest vehicles. Foreign hauliers were at a significant advantage when competing for work in Britain, having purchased fuel on the Continent for less than half the price of fuel in Britain, he said.

Wincanton Logistics, part of Unigate and one of the largest logistics companies in Britain, said the rise in diesel tax in the March Budget had increased its fuel bill by more than pounds 4m and the subsequent surge in oil prices had added another pounds 3m.

The association's initiative was immediately backed by the Conservatives - the party which introduced the annual fuel price increases. Bernard Jenkin, shadow transport minister, said the Tories now intended to withdraw the yearly rises when they were back in power.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam