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Today’s budget was a historic event – the first Budget since the EU referendum and the last spring Budget and FPS, the trade association for the oil distribution industry in the UK and Republic of Ireland, is pleased that Chancellor Philip Hammond in his first ever Budget has not raised fuel duty or vehicle excise duty rates for hauliers as well as freezing the HGV Road User Levy for another year but feels more could have been done.
“The Budget did produce some good news but also didn’t deliver any great help for many small business owners many of whom are our members,” said FPS President Duncan Grant. The FPS had written to the Chancellor in the run up to the Autumn statement asking for a raft of measures.
The fuel distribution sector is a key but largely unregarded part of the supply of fuels particularly to customers who are off the gas grid and the FPS had written to ask Mr Hammond to recognise this sector and do more to assist both the homeowners and our members.
Duncan adds “Our members operate at very low margins and so not raising fuel duty or vehicle excise duty rates for hauliers as well as freezing the HGV Road User Levy will go some way to helping our members but we wanted to see additional measures to help members' customers – the 1.25 million mainly rural homeowners who are off grid.
“The FPS will continue to urge the Government to consider expanding the pilot scheme to fit first time central heating in homes but with a focus on rural customers who suffer from disproportionately low support from schemes such as the Energy Companies Obligation, where most funding is delivered in urban areas. Oil heating is currently recognised by the independent provider of comparative home heating costs, Sutherland Tables, as being the cheapest form of heating in the UK and has been since January 2015. Therefore, a government supported scheme to replace older oil boilers with new, efficient condensing boilers would both reduce consumer heating bills whilst also making a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.”
“It was a short Budget speech with few surprises, with the Autumn Statement announcements it is rare now to have many surprises in the budget itself. It is hard to see how the measures announced will do much to enhance the UK as a place to start and build businesses in the way the Chancellor aspires. I believe the first autumn Budget may contain a lot more of interest as Mr Hammond reacts to the progress of Brexit negotiations.”