LABOUR’s Shadow Treasury team’s call for even more taxes to be piled upon the haulage industry has understandably incurred the wrath of the Road Haulage Association.

‘Britain’s hauliers already pay some of the highest taxes in Europe. The suggestion that a Labour Government would massively increase taxes on the movement of goods is beyond belief. It will undermine the competitiveness of all UK industry and ramp up inflationary pressures,’ said RHA chief executive Richard Burnett.

‘It is clear from his comments that Labour’s treasury frontbencher, Clive Lewis, sees our industry as ‘the bad guys – the emission bandits’. Nothing could be further from the truth. For years we have been extolling the virtues of the industry’s new, cleaner, trucks but it’s clear that the Shadow Chancellor has no idea as to the importance of the industry.

‘These latest proposals are a further own goal as they will undermine the sector’s massive ongoing investment in newer, cleaner vehicles. What is even more shocking is the cavalier approach of Mr Lewis who is content to ‘see HGV operators go out of business’ as a direct consequence of this tax hike.

‘Labour’s aspirations to land British hauliers with an enormous bill of £6bn pa (over £12,096 a year per lorry) is, at best, naive. And it won’t just be the haulage industry that pays, everyone that relies on trucks to keep manufacturers, supermarkets, schools and hospitals going will be hit.’

• Christopher Snelling, head of UK policy at the FTA commented; ‘We are appalled at this short sighted policy. The claim that HGVs only pay 11% of their UK road infrastructure costs is false. Between the highest fuel duty of any major economy in the world, the HGV Road User Levy, VED and road tolls, HGVs in fact currently pay enough tax and charges to cover over 90% of the UK’s entire road maintenance budget.

‘Total UK spending by all authorities on highway maintenance (including bridges, footpaths etc) was £4.7bn in the financial year 2015-16; tax take from HGVs alone covered almost 94% of this cost.

‘Britain needs HGVs to deliver nearly four million tonnes of goods every day in order to function. Everything that makes operating a lorry more expensive makes Britain a less competitive place to do business and increases the cost of goods in the shops.’

He concluded: ‘There are smart ways to work to reduce the environmental footprint of HGVs and make logistics more efficient, that could benefit us all. Blunt tax hikes are the opposite of that and would change nothing while hurting the economy.’