LONDON, February 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Today (11 February) representatives from the Road Haulage Association and Freight Transport Association met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling to stress the importance of abandoning plans to increase fuel duty by a further 2p per litre from 1 April.

RHA Chief Executive Roger King said: "The meeting with Chancellor went well and we had a courteous hearing. We talked at length about the proposed 2 pence per litre increase and stressed that this should not go ahead on the grounds that Britain's road hauliers were already struggling to come to terms with the increase in world oil prices and earlier tax increases and that the economics of road freight transport operations were at serious risk as a result. A 2 ppl increase in April would widen even further the operating cost differential between a British truck and a French-registered vehicle to an staggering, and unacceptable GBP15,500. (Based on an average annual mileage of 100,000 at 7.5 miles per gallon).

"The Chancellor's response to this was that it all other taxes had to be taken in to account to compare like for like. Our reply was that the GBP13,500 already more than covered any tax differences. In addition, direct operating costs, as opposed to other elements of taxation, are what currently concerns the operator.

"We had a very open conversation and no-one pulled any punches. The Chancellor made it clear that he could do no more than take note of what was being said prior to his Budget statement in March. The Chancellor listened attentively to what we had to say but ultimately, of course, it is his final decision that willl count. But he will make it in the knowlege that the road transport industry has given him the facts as we see them."

The Road Haulage Association - more than you think

For more details, contact RHA Communications Manager Kate Gibbs on, Tel: +44-(0)1932-838917, Mob: +44-(0)7979-531451