Fuel Price Protest

Stephen Montgomery, at the beginning of your posting you say that because Stobart and Curries are the ‘big boys’ they’re able to enforce a surcharge on their customers whereas you can’t. Later on you say that because you want to increase your rates you’re losing a customer to Curries. I can’t quite reconcile the two statements.

Unless these larger companies are secretly refining their own oil they have exactly the same business pressures as you and I, often with the added problems of high corporate overheads and shareholder accountability. If they’re able to ‘enforce’ rate increases it’s only because they had the foresight to enter into contracts that allow them to do so. The only real advantage that the ‘big boys’ have over smaller companies is more efficient vehicle utilisation, and a well run smaller company can beat the best of the big boys on that score.

Posted under Protests & Strikes

Posted by Alec at 8:17 am, May 23, 2008

4 Comments so far

  1. Alec added on  March 23rd, 2008 at 11:22

    As the oil price increases and the pound loses value against the Euro the cost advantage that foreign hauliers have over UK hauliers is becoming much smaller.

  2. Alec added on  May 27th, 2008 at 10:51

    Pat, do you think the UK government have the freedom to impose taxes that discriminate against businesses based in other EU member states?

    EU Directive 2003/96/EEC states that fuel contained in the standard tanks of commercial vehicles isn’t subject to additional excise duty when the vehicle crosses the border into another EU member state.

    The road charging for foreign trucks idea was put forward by the government to appease the fuel protesters last time – and then quietly dropped a couple of years later. EU rules mean that all EU registered trucks, even UK registered trucks, would have to pay the same charges. The idea was then to refund some of the fuel excise duty back to UK operators.

    Your idea of charging foreign trucks to enter the country I think fails on the same point – EU rules apply to the free movement of goods throughout the EU area. You can’t charge a Polish vehicle for entering the UK unless UK vehicles are subject to the same charge and I don’t think you can charge an EU registered vehicle UK road tax.

    I suppose they could impose an ‘environmental tax’ on ALL commercial vehicles on UK roads, and then rebate back some of the fuel excise duty to UK operators but the rebate system would be horrendously complicated and probably open to abuse and you can bet your life that the whole system would only apply to commercial vehicles on O licences.

    In the past I suggested that the solution may be to lower the duty on fuel and increase the VAT, so businesses could claim it back. Unfortunately the rules only allow for a ‘Standard’ rate of VAT and a ‘Reduced’ rate, not an ‘Extra’ rate, the maximum rate for VAT is also set by the EU at 25% so that’s probably not an option either.

  3. Alec added on  May 27th, 2008 at 10:51

    They’re meant to do that anyway Patrick, you have to wonder why they don’t. Any fuel not carried in the manufacturers standard tanks is meant to be declared at the border and excise duty paid. The operator is then able to claim a refund of the duty paid in the country where the fuel was purchased. Has anyone ever heard of that happening in the UK though? The Germans are apparently pretty hot on this so why does it not happen here?

  4. Alec added on  May 27th, 2008 at 11:15

    They can’t do that though, unless we leave the EU.

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