A national road pricing scheme to replace an emissions-based tax regime must not penalise the road haulage industry, MPs have been warned.
Giving evidence to the transport select committee earlier this week, the RHA said hauliers already pay more tax than anywhere else in Europe and any new road pricing scheme should not punish logistics firms further.
The plan to phase out diesel and petrol vehicles over the coming decade will create a £34bn black hole in Treasury coffers and national road user pricing is considered the most obvious way to raise revenue.
Research by a think tank has found that voters are now more likely to support road pricing than oppose it, because the public dislikes the current system of tax.
Duncan Buchanan, policy director at the RHA, told the committee: “As commercial operators, we wouldn’t want to see anything that net increases the cost of operation and feeds into inflation and feeds into costs.
“I fear that it may get done badly and our members could be losers.
“From our point of view, we don’t see why that should be the case. They pay more than enough tax than just about anywhere else in Europe already, we would not want to see them double dipped with road user charging on top of the full fuel duty.
“That would be unacceptable for our members.”
Giving evidence at the same session, the BVRLA said there was a clear need for a new road pricing scheme as more zero-emission vehicles were seen on UK roads.
Toby Poston, BVRLA director of corporate affairs, said: “We are removing fossil fuels from the equation, so the current emissions-based tax system will see revenues plummet.
“Any new road pricing scheme must be easy to pay and have the simple objective of providing a revenue-neutral replacement for fuel duty and vehicle excise duty.
“It should be based on a simple ‘distance driven’ model that considers vehicle weight, emissions and use case, with discounts given to shared mobility solutions.
Poston added: “Drivers and fleet operators need clarity on future taxation as they make the transition to zero emission road transport.”
Research by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) found four in 10 people support pricing as a replacement to existing road and fuel duties. Only 26% said they were opposed to the idea.
“Britain needs a system of road taxes fit for the 21st century and the age of the electric vehicle,” said Scott Corfe, SMF research director. “It is vital that ministers recognise how far public opinion has shifted on road pricing over the last two decades.”
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