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'British hauliers want to know why Britain can't join the system'

5th September 1996
Page 51
Page 51, 5th September 1996 — 'British hauliers want to know why Britain can't join the system'
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Post, recently ran an article 6y local newspaper, the Liverpool

about a motorway toll plan, the European so-called vignette system. The point was made that British hauliers have an unfair advantage over foreign hauliers and that trucks do not pay their true costs. As an international haulier running 20 trucks, I was moved to respond. After the war, I wrote, Germany had to pay reparations to the allies. As a means of doing this, it was decided that all revenues from the railways would go to reparations. To ensure railways were used instead of roads, taxes were increased on trucks to make them a more expensive alternative. The German government charges its hauliers just over £3,000 per truck per year. But Britain charges £3,100! The European Union allows its members to recover road charges by any combination of road tax (VED), fuel duty and road tolls. Britain charges its hauliers the highest road tax and fuel duties of any member state. Most members recover costs by way of tolls and all foreign trucks pay to use their roads. However, when a foreign truck comes to Britain they pay nothing—apart From small amounts when using the Mersey Tunnel, for example. They can operate cheaper in this country than British trucks. The same thing happened in Germany but the Germans got tired of seeing so many foreign trucks taking their business. About two years ago they introduced a new Eurotax. Every truck using the German motorways has to have a valid ticket which can be bought by the day, week or year and costs about £5.50 a day, with reductions for longer periods. The tickets are available from filling stations and other outlets and are issued like our lottery tickets. If you are stopped by the police and have no ticket, the spot Fine is £4,000. At the same time the German government reduced the annual road tax to its own hauliers and increased its revenue by more than 50%, which includes a contribution from all trucks using its roads. Above all, German hauliers are now competitive with other EU members. Three countries, Belgiwn, Netherlands and Denmark, joined the system and a ticket bought in one country is valid in the others. Germany administers the system and the revenue is shared among all its members. British hauliers want to know why Britain can't join the system. Our trucks pay road tax of £3,100 per year, as well as p taxes throughout the EU, and yet rn; trucks are only in the country a Few each year. With the Eurotax system would only pay while here. Our present system is not availab the day or even the week. The Govt says the technology is not available do it with the lottery every week. Cc answer lie in the fact that the Gover collects up to £18bn a year and spf one third of that on the roads?

But this is false accounting. Our c runs 20 trucks with a turnover last y £2.3m. We paid £566,000 or turnover in dery duty, rood tax, nat insurance, income and corporation This does not include VAT of over £. This totalled £28,300 per truck eac While the Government allows for trucks to operate here cheaper thar own for the sake of £3,100 per trut are losing a potential income overc £25,000 to the economy. 51


Locations: Liverpool

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