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Haulage company boss wants more government help

By Hayley Robinson

Thanks for the cut in fuel duty but we need more help.

That's the message from haulage firm boss, Jim Dodd, after Chancellor George Osborne unveiled a decrease of 1p per litre in fuel when he announced the budget on Wednesday.

VAT on fuel won't be reduced but the 4p a litre increase planned for April has been postponed until next year.

And a fair fuel stabiliser will be introduced meaning that when oil prices are high, fuel duty will increase by inflation only.

Mr Dodd, chairman of Dodd's Group, based in Eurolink Commercial Park, Sittingbourne, believes an essential users' rebate is what's really needed to help companies like his survive. Coaches and buses already benefit from it.

He said: "We pay the same rate for fuel as the general public so every time the fuel goes up we have to put our prices up to customers, which then puts inflation up.

"If hauliers got the rebate plus the stabiliser [announced by Mr Osborne to keep prices down], I think it would help.

"I spend £203,000 a month on fuel which includes VAT and that's without road tax and drivers' PAYE.

"We don't run them [lorries] for the fun of it, everything you have in your home goes on a truck. Even if people don't like them, you can't do without them."

One of the biggest problems haulage firms face is competition from European rivals which get a rebate on the fuel prices they pay, then come to England with full tanks to do their collections at cheaper rates.

Mr Dodd added: "On average, I pay 25p a litre more than the foreigners. I don't want any favours but I do want a level playing field."

Meanwhile two pub bosses have welcomed news there was no additional change to alcohol duty rates in the budget.

Booze prices are set to rise at midnight on Sunday under a previous hike decision.

This will add 4p to the price of a pint of beer, 15p to the price of a bottle of wine, and 54p to the price of a bottle of spirits.

Dan Mackness, assistant manager of The Vineyard, West Street, said: "I'm pretty happy about it and I think it will please the punters and keep them coming through the doors."

Jackie Brissenden, landlady of The Beauty of Bath pub, College Road, said: "We were worried [more tax on top of Sunday's rise would be added] because they seem to be doing their best to ruin us at the moment."

How are you being affected by high prices at the moment? Are you having to change your behaviour because of the cost of food and fuel?

Leave your comments below or email sittingbourne@thekmgroup.co.uk

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