A Penny For Your Thoughts?

by Andrea Willoughby

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Eagle Courier's director, Jerry Stewart, has expressed relief following the chancellor of the exchequer confirming plans to cancel a planned rise in fuel costsBosses and staff at Scotland’s biggest independent courier company have heaved a huge sigh of relief at news the Chancellor of the Exchequer has delivered on plans to cancel fuel duty rises.

George Osborne has confirmed at his Autumn Statement on December 5 that he is postponing a planned 2p rise in fuel duty to demonstrate that the government is on the side of the people and small businesses across the UK.

George Osborne confirmed that this demonstration will cost the government £22 billion pounds.

As part of a plan for “responsible recovery” across the country, many tough measures have been put in place to ultimately secure a promising economic future; however, consumers and businesses will be spared an extra cost on their fuel for the foreseeable future.

Confirmation of the news has delivered a huge lift to Eagle Couriers, which operates a fleet of 100 vehicles from Edinburgh and Glasgow, with its HQ in Bathgate, West Lothian.

Jerry Stewart, one of three directors of the company said that while 2p doesn’t sound much, the potential costs to transport-based businesses could have proved crippling.

He said: “If cancelling a 2p-a-litre rise in fuel is the epitome of sharing in the rewards of economic recovery, I can’t imagine George Osborne knows much about having a good time.

“However, as the director of a courier firm with 100 vans clocking up miles around Scotland every day, I’m grateful that this price increase won’t be going ahead.

“Perhaps it’s only a small consolation to many,  but I feel this piece of positive news is a significant relief to anyone whose work or life revolves around fuel-based transport.

“Following a tough number of years economically within the UK, it’s refreshing to hear that for once, a planned increased is being wiped away rather than implemented with immediate effect.

High Cost of Living

“With the ‘Big Six’ energy companies increasing power prices by an average of 9.1% in October, I think word of a fuel increase would have been the final nail in the coffin for most people’s disposable income.

“As prices stand, Scotland has the highest recorded diesel cost at an average of 140.1p per litre.  Adding an extra two pence to that figure would mean a significant rise in costs for individual motorists and even heftier increase for businesses.

“Based on our vans’ average fuel capacity of 60 litres, Eagle Couriers would be paying out an extra £1.20 every time a driver refueled – and refueling happens often when you’re delivering packages all over the country.

“That’s what is most debilitating about ‘small’ rises. While £1.20 sounds insignificant, as less than the cost of a single bus ticket (or tram ticket, now that that venture may finally take off after a 57 year holiday) adding the figures up over 100 vehicles for a year makes an enormous difference to our expenditure.

“Over an extended period, the mounting costs of those pounds and pennies could be the difference between being able to keep someone in a job and having to let them go.

“Fuel is an expensive commodity in the UK, but is a necessity for most of us with no viable alternative.  When prices have continuously risen over the years, we’ve been forced to pay. We should all feel relieved that for now, we can bank on prices sticking.”



Private: Andrea Willoughby

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