The industry has welcomed the prime minister’s pledge to look at finding a way to avoid any more fuel duty rises during the current parliament.

On the local election campaign trial in Derbyshire earlier this week, Cameron said he wanted to keep going with moves to block rises in fuel duty.

"We have cancelled and delayed almost all of these fuel duty increases. will keep going to try and keep those fuel duty increases off, recognising that it is the really big bills that people really care about and want help with," the Daily Telegraph reported today (23 April).

While no official policy commitment was available from the Treasury, the report's veracity was not challenged by a spokeswoman for the department.

More to be done

Peter Carroll, FairFuelUK’s ( FFUK) founder, added: "The government has done much to control rising fuel prices, but there’s still much more to be done. Cancelling Labour’s string of fuel duty ‘time bombs’ has been great progress – but it isn’t enough.

"The evidence we have presented to the Treasury is clear that to create jobs, stimulate growth and reduce the pressures on inflation we need to actually cut duty substantially."

Geoff Dunning, chief executive of the RHA, one of FFUK’s backers, said: “Of course we welcome the news that there is little prospect of any duty rises before the next general election in 2015.

“But the fact remains that UK hauliers are still paying the highest levels of fuel duty in Europe and this is an issue that must be addressed as a matter of urgency. Our members have to watch every penny; they can’t afford not to. This is an industry where any increase in the price of fuel or the rate of fuel duty can mean make or break”.

Lee Christopher, founder of Leicester-based Premier Logistics, which is a Pall-Ex pallet network member, welcomed the news. He cited the high price of fuel as  a significant drag on operators’ profits and threat to their businesses.

“Fuel duty is an easy revenue stream for them [the government]. The problem is we have a substantial amount of hauliers closing down, and whether it’s [ultimately] a loss of contract [that takes them down], you look at their P&L and fuel duty will be between 20% and 35% [of their turnover],” said Christopher.  “Behind salaries fuel duty is our second biggest cost.”

The announcement, while unexpected, is consistent with the government’s current engagement with the issue. Just earlier this month Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, sent a letter to FFUK inviting the campaign group in for further talks on fuel duty.