Representatives of the Freight Transport and Road Haulage Associations (FTA and RHA) will be meeting with the Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling today to discuss scrapping a two pence per litre increase on fuel duty.

The FTA and RHA represent operators of over 300,000 lorries and in a joint letter to the Daily Telegraph, called for the two pence increase to be scrapped. The letter was signed by 11 major groups representing industry and motorists.

The letter said, At 50.35p per litre, UK fuel duty for diesel and petrol is already the highest in Europe. Indeed UK diesel duty is double the EU average rate of 25p per litre.

Alistair Darling currently plans to increase fuel duty by two pence from 1 April, the FTA and RHA say such a move would create serious difficulties for those in the transport industries, as well as those who rely on cars as their primary mode of transport.

The letter said, During the last eighteen months the whole of UK industry has experienced increased costs as a consequence of higher oil prices on the world market.

At a time when we are suffering from the joint threats of an economic slowdown and increasing inflation, the higher costs of transporting goods and services resulting from price rises for fuel have impacted on every single company throughout the UK, and thus on their customers.

The letter pointed out that almost two thirds of the price paid for petrol at the pumps goes to the Government in either taxes or VAT.

The letter finished saying, In the interests of every company moving goods and their customers, and of the economy in general, we the undersigned call on the Chancellor to recognise these problems and to abandon his plans for a 2p per litre increase in fuel duty from 1 April.

As well as the FTA and RHA, the letter was signed by groups such as the Automobile Association, the British Chambers of Commerce and the National Farmers Union.