Release Date:
Release ID: 4791

Budget holds few surprises for UK freight forwarders

The British International Freight Association (BIFA), the trade association for UK forwarders, has welcomed the news in yesterday's budget that the UK coalition government will delay the decision over Air Passenger Duty reform.

It had been widely assumed that the emergency budget would include changes to the aviation tax system, including switching from a 'per passenger' to a 'per plane' duty.

BIFA Director General, Peter Quantrill said that BIFA is pleased that any major changes would be subject to public consultations.

"Reports indicate that a statement is likely to be published in the autumn. Rest assured we will be lobbying our contacts in government to make the point that a possible 'plane tax' remains an ill-conceived proposal which would do nothing to uphold the UK's competitive edge as a major freight hub for international carriers serving Europe.

"The 'plane tax' proposal is not new - the previous government considered it but realised after consultation with trade, including BIFA, that there were a number of show stopping impracticalities to the scheme. Not least of all those relative to taxing airlines whose aircraft use UK airports as a drop/pick up point for through services en-route from origin to final destination."

BIFA also welcomed the news that the coalition government had made good on its promise with a confirmation of the scrapping of backdated port rates demands.

Quantrill added: "The move signals a welcome break for Britain's hard-pressed international freight sector and leaves businesses at Britain's ports free to concentrate on facilitating Britain's import and export freight movements."

BIFA expressed disappointment that while there is no new rise in fuel duty, the phased introduction of the previous budget's increase means duty will rise by 1p per litre in October and by 0.76p per litre in January 2011.

Adds Mr Quantrill: "Our members are facing fuel prices at record levels, as well as steep rises in other costs. Foreign hauliers are offering cross border services with cheaper fuel purchased abroad.

"The Government has said that it will look at the impact of sharp fluctuations in the price of oil on the public finances. Although they were unwilling to cancel the planned rises, they should consider introducing an essential user rebate. This would send a very positive message from government to businesses in our sector which operate on the tightest of margins and put us in a better position to both facilitate international trade and compete on a level playing field with foreign competition."
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