Call for action on fuel prices

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The new year has brought nothing but misery for motorists as fuel prices soared to record levels.

On January 1, fuel duty rose by 0.76p per litre, followed three days later by a VAT increase of 2.5%.

There is due to be another increase in fuel duty in April. Motorists are now left paying up to 130p per litre for diesel.

Colin Christie, owner of Brechin Haulage company C & J Christie, has voiced his concerns about the spiralling cost of fuel.

C & J Christie have lorries which travel from Scotland to France everyday, where they often fill up their lorries with fuel in an attempt to save some money.

Colin Christie warned that, if fuel prices stayed at current levels, many businesses could go bust and jobs could go.

From the March 1 to December 15 his company has spent almost £300,000 on fuel bills.

Prices of fuel have risen 20p per litre since 2009, going up from 110p to 130p per litre at the start if this year.

In the same period of time petrol prices in France have only risen 10p per litre, from 98p per litre to 108p per litre.

Colin said: “The price of fuel is too much but you cannot put your rates up or companies from abroad will end up getting your business.

“If I travel from the UK to Europe I have to pay road tax but, for a company to travel from Europe to the UK, they do not have to pay road tax and they have cheaper fuel.

“There are definitely people who are going to go out of business.

“Over £300,000 for fuel to run five lorries, only four of which travel to Europe, is a big chunk out of the budget.

“I feel for companies who are operating in the UK and only paying for UK fuel.

Although getting his fuel from France can be cheaper Colin now has to wait up to six months to get his VAT back, meaning that a considerable amount of money can be tied up waiting to be refunded.

“The government is going to have to do something. Out of the 130p per litre only 47p is for the product, the rest of it is taxation.” said Colin.

“People say that it is a worldwide problem but it is not. All I need to do is travel across the channel and I am 22p a litre cheaper for fuel.”

And it is not just fuel for his lorries that Colin in concerned about.

The cost of red diesel, a low cost diesel used to run the fridges at the company, has rocketed from 34p per litre to almost 60p per litre, meaning many agricultural and construction companies will also be hit hard.