THE crippling cost of fuel duty is top of Fergusons Transport’s list for action in the Autumn Statement.
Alan Ferguson, chairman of the region’s biggest privately owned haulier, said that high fuel prices are a bigger issue in the North East than elsewhere in the UK.
He said: "I think that’s the biggest difficulty the region faces because we have to transport our goods so far. Fuel is more important to us, more so than a business in London.
"It makes our services more expensive for our customers. Fuel is 45% of our costs. We have no choice than to pass it on – if we didn’t then we couldn’t stay in business."
He said Chancellor George Osborne could reduce the pressure by looking creatively at the issue.
"The way to solve it would be to increase the VAT on fuel and decrease the duty so the Chancellor didn’t lose anything but VAT registered businesses could reclaim the VAT," said Ferguson. "We also need an investment in the road network. It’s time we were connected to Scotland by a bit more than a country lane. You would get the benefit from that for decades to come."