Good news! We can finally starting looking to the New Year with a modicum of optimism after the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement yesterday (5 December).
The much anticipated, much dreaded, statement was in fact good news for motorists and the transport industry. For once!
January’s 3ppl fuel duty increase, which has plagued us since the last deferral in August, was at last cancelled. George Osborne listened to the persuasive arguments of our friends at FairFuelUK (who showed through a NIESR report that the increase would actually harm the economy to the tune of 35,000 jobs lost and growth hindered by 0.1 percent).
And, there was more good news: the Chancellor announced £1 billion of investment into improving our crumbling road network. The A1 and the M25 are the two main roads to benefit from this substantial investment and as a result will provide a much needed boost to transport links between the North and South. Hoorah!
Yet, you may notice the title of this piece says “progress” and that is exactly what has been achieved here; nothing more. There is still much to be done while the transport industry remains in a precarious situation.
The price of fuel is still close to record high levels and the Autumn Statement offered little actual support to struggling truckers, despite Osborne announcing funds to boost UK export. All well and good, but where’s the support for the over-stretched transport sector which will be expected to act as the backbone to an increased export industry?
Progress George, we’ll give you that. But there’s still more to be done.