Page last updated at 21:05 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Hauliers face 'bleak Christmas'

Allistair Darling
The details of the pre-Budget report were announced on Monday

Hauliers in Northern Ireland are looking at a bleak Christmas following the pre-Budget report, the Freight Transport Association has said.

The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, is to increase fuel duty to offset the cut in VAT from 17.5% to 15%.

FTA Northern Ireland spokesperson Tom Wilson branded Mr Darling's decision as "disgraceful".

"By offsetting the VAT reduction with an increase in fuel duty, he has added thousands to the transport bills."

Tom Wilson continued: "Not only does this hurt businesses directly, it also hurts the consumer, who will end up paying more to cover transport costs of items such as food, clothing and white goods.

"As far as the logistics sector is concerned, the Chancellor is giving with one hand and taking away with the other."

The Freight Transport Association represents the interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air.

FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles - almost half the UK fleet.

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