Sir Mike Penning MP

A group of MPs are asking hauliers to tell them what impact a cut or increase in fuel duty will have on their businesses as the country emerges from the economic doldrums.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on road haulage and logistics has launched an inquiry into whether duty acts as a barrier to the sector’s ability to recover from the pandemic.

The group has published a survey it wants road freight companies to respond to, which includes questions about fleet size, zero emission vehicles, annual fuel bills and the impact of a fuel duty cut or increase.

The APPG said haulage had been one of the most affected industries by Covid-19, with demand for services outside of retail food and medical supplies falling to virtually zero.

It said that if the sector is to play its role in rebuilding and restarting the economy, then the government needed to address the challenges the industry is facing.

APPG chair Sir Mike Penning, pictured, said: “Throughout the pandemic those haulage businesses who have remained operational have been unsung heroes of our national response moving vital goods and pharmaceutical supplies throughout the UK.

“These businesses have always operated on razor thin margins and the impact of the pandemic has been devastating, pushing many viable businesses to the edge of the abyss.

“We cannot have a full national economic recovery without a thriving road freight and logistics sector, and it is essential that the government support this vital industry.

“It is welcome that the Transport Secretary has recognised the outstanding contribution hauliers have made during the Covid crisis, now we need to make sure the Treasury is not acting as a barrier to its recovery.”

He added: “The government must commit to removing barriers that delay our economic recovery and our inquiry will investigate whether fuel duty will tie hauliers’ hands as they look to play their vital role on our national recovery. “

The inquiry closes on 8 January and will report at the beginning of February.