Jerry Stewart, director of Eagle Couriers, said: “Last June, Gordon Brown promised that he would not increase fuel duty for a year, but we have already seen two rises announced since then.
“This latest hike in fuel duty is yet another kick in teeth for motorists and it will hit the pockets of individuals and companies who are already being squeezed by the recession.
“If customers have to spend more money at the pumps they will therefore have less money to spend in the shops and it will take longer for our dwindling economy to recover.
“It is also bad news for transporters, courier firms and other businesses who use fuel for their livelihood. Many of these firms use diesel to fuel their fleets – which currently stands at around £1.03 compared to 93p or so for petrol – so we will once again be hit harder than anyone else by this latest rise.
“The industry has only just recovered from the last hike just a few months ago, when we were also hit with the double whammy of a drop in VAT – which is the only percentage of fuel prices that we can claim back from the government – so this latest rise will be a bitter pill to swallow.”