MPs MUST UNITE TO STABILISE FUEL COSTS Ahead of an SNP / Plaid Cymru debate on fuel prices today (Monday) in the House of Commons, organisations representing road users across Scotland have given their backing for to the parties calls for immediate action to stabilise the costs of fuel.
The Road Haulage Association, the Freight Transport, FairFuelUK, the Federation of Small Businesses Scotland and the Scottish Taxi Federation have all lent their support to demands to bring fuel costs down. The SNP / Plaid Cymru debate will be the last opportunity MPs will have to discuss fuel prices before the Budget in March.
Commenting in advance of the debate, SNP Treasury Spokesman Stewart Hosie MP said: “I am delighted that these organisations have spoken out and I hope MPs from all parties will do the same in this crucial debate ahead of the Budget. Soaring fuel prices are actually hindering economic recovery.
“The SNP and Plaid Cymru debate could well be the last opportunity for MPs to send a clear message to the government. Scottish MPs need to unite in demanding action because Scotland’s road users can’t wait any longer.”
Organisations backing calls for action – Peter Carroll of FairFuelUK said: “FairFuelUK is supported by over 20,000 road freight companies, the RAC, dozens of trade associations and other groups together with tens of thousands motorists. FairFuelUK supports the attempts of SNP and Plaid Cymru to raise the issue of high fuel prices and their impact on the economy on the floor of the House. Their motion and debate will all add pressure to the Government to act on the fuel crisis.”
Phil Flanders, Director of the RHA’s Scotland and Northern Ireland Region, said: “The RHA fully supports the SNP / Plaid Cymru motion to urge the Government to take immediate action to resolve the increasingly difficult situation that hauliers – and motorists – find themselves in due to the cost of fuel.
“We have always supported the SNP’s proposals for a fuel duty regulator in order to bring stability to the costs of a haulage business where fuel can account for around 40% of running costs at today’s prices. Whatever it is called – a stabiliser or a regulator – help is urgently needed for all hauliers and particularly those further from their market such as those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Remote rural communities also deserve special help given the exorbitant price they have to pay.
“It cannot be stressed strongly enough that in the past year fuel prices have gone up by at least 14% and in the last 28 months there have been 8 fuel duty hikes amounting to a 25% increase. This is just simply unacceptable for the economy.”
A spokesperson for the Freight Transport Association said: “FTA welcomes the efforts of both Plaid Cymru and the SNP in helping to develop the fuel duty debate further. Lives and livelihoods up and down the country are suffering in the face of unsustainable and crippling fuel costs.
“For businesses still in the grip of tough trading conditions these costs severely restrict cash flow and a company’s ability to do business; sadly this can translate to job losses and the difference between solvency and insolvency.
“Fuel accounts for a third of the costs of running a truck, when its price rises steeply it has an immediate impact on a company’s cash flow. The fuel duty increase planned for April will likely see the price of a litre of diesel rise by 3.5ppl, landing UK business with an annual bill of over £430m.
“This cost is unsustainable and because the logistics sector impacts on every sector of our society there is no doubt that it will severely impede the UK’s chances of economic recovery.
“As part of the Fair Fuel UK Campaign, the Freight Transport Association and the Road Haulage Association, along with backing from the RAC, are asking government principally to scrap the fuel duty rise planned in April and introduce a methodology for stabilising fuel prices.”
Bill MacIntosh, General Secretary of the Scottish Taxi Federation said: ”Taxi drivers are affected more than most by increases in fuel. Unlike other transport operators, taxi drivers can’t just raise their prices as fares are set by local authorities. The Scottish Taxi Federation welcomes and supports the proposal of a fuel stabiliser.”
Andy Willox OBE, the Federation of Small Businesses’ Scottish Policy Convenor, said: “Scottish small businesses want to grow, innovate and create employment but the cost of fuel puts the brakes on their ability to drive the recovery.
“Every extra penny spent at the pumps is a penny not being spent elsewhere in the economy and our members are finding it hard to plan for the future, as well as survive the present, due to the spiralling cost of fuel.”
“The FSB is right behind all moves to introduce a fuel duty stabiliser.”