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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 March, 2005, 08:22 GMT
'Diesel cost is crippling firms'
Lorry
Hauliers say diesel prices are worse than ever
Transport businesses across the UK have warned that the current high price of diesel is threatening their businesses.

They are calling on the government to help them by reducing tax on fuel.

Mark McAllister, general manager of the recovery service McAllisters Recovery in Aldershot, Hampshire, says current diesel costs are higher than ever.

"These increases are crippling businesses and our business is being strangled because the cost of fuel is going up all the time," he said.

'Terrifying'

Mr McAllister recalled the fuel protests of just over four years ago, when protests by farmers and hauliers outside oil sites caused pumps to run dry around the country.

"Fuel prices now are definitely at their worst since the protests in September 2000.

"What is really frustrating is that Britain's fuel prices are totally disproportionate to the rest of Europe and that doesn't seem right to me.

We could be faced with another fuel demonstration if the government doesn't take action
Paul Newton
East Anglian Hauliers Group

"It would be nice if the government could help by reducing tax on fuel or by giving transport businesses some kind of rebate," he said.

Michael Sidley, contracts manager for the Weaver Group milk hauliers in Stoke-on-Trent, believes the rises will hit businesses hard.

He said: "We are always disappointed when diesel prices go up because it influences and has a major impact on business.

"The implications of these rises to any business is always quite severe because a percentage of our vehicle costs goes on fuel, and if the price goes up this makes it harder for us.

"It also puts pressure on our relationship with the customer because we have to raise our prices as a result."

Ben Mundell, who has been running his own whisky haulage company in Argyll for the last 18 years, believes some small transport companies could go out of business.

He said: "The rising costs of fuel prices is terrifying. They are going up all the time and we never know what to do.

'Promises not materialised'

"I would say some small businesses definitely won't survive following the latest increases because the prices are going up all the time and this is making it more and more difficult.

"Customers don't realise the effect these rises have on our business too. The government needs to reduce tax on fuel duty."

Paul Newton, chairman of the East Anglian Hauliers Group, believes that continuing rise in fuel prices could lead to protests.

"I am very disappointed by the rises. We have been objecting to these increases since 1999 and the promises that were made by the government then have failed to materialise.

"The hauliers are very concerned about this because their raw materials are being threatened and we can't go forward with these prices going up all the time.

"I think we could be faced with another fuel demonstration if the government doesn't take action."




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