“Gobsmacked” At Shock Road User Charge Increase
“We’re Gobsmacked” At Shock Road User Charge Increase, Say Concrete Trucking Operators
Yesterday’s shock announcement to increase road user charges by 7% could be the final straw for several concrete delivery companies, predicts the Ready Mixed Concrete Association (RMCA).
Association president Graham Payne says the surprise decision by Transport Minister Annette King has sent shockwaves through an industry already reeling from massive increases in fuel prices and a major downturn in construction activity.
“We’re gobsmacked – this was completely out of the blue. We can plan for these changes when we’re forewarned but we had no prior knowledge of this increase,” Mr Payne says.
The new charges, which took effect from yesterday, will significantly increase the cost of operating an average concrete delivery truck – an increase which can’t be passed on straight away as most companies had short-term contracts with customers.
Mr Payne says feedback from RMCA members following the announcement indicates that some may not be able to survive this latest blow.
Member companies are particularly angry that the Minister has gone back on a promise made last year to provide a month’s notice of any future increase.
He says some operators are seriously considering whether to join with other Road Transport Forum members in direct action to voice their protest at the decision.
“This is almost the end of the road for some of these businesses – they feel they’ve got nothing to lose by making the strongest possible statement about how strongly they feel about this decision.”