Memorandum submitted by the Association
of International Courier and Express Services
1. AICES is the trade organisation in the
United Kingdom for companies handling international express documents
and package shipments. AICES membershipwhich includes household
names such as DHL, FedEx, TNT and UPSemploys tens of thousands
of people and is responsible for over 95 per cent of the international
courier and express shipments moved through the UK every day.
Our services provide the "just-in-time" information
and goods that organisations from hospitals to financial institutions
2. AICES members are acutely aware of the
major transport challenges with which the Government is faced.
As an industry that prides itself on "just in time"
services, we have become increasingly concerned by the congestion
that plagues Britain's roads. Not only does it impact on the efficiency
of our services and subsequently the UK economy, we also recognise
the significant consequences for both the environment and public.
3. AICES fully accepts that it is for the
Government to determine levels of taxation and policy priorities.
However, our members have been extremely concerned that whilst
the Government is prepared to wield the stickin respect
of fuel duty or by allowing the introduction of congestion chargesit
would seem the carrot has yet to make an appearance.
4. We believe that the Government must ensure
that any policies that are introduced with the aim of reducing
car journeys and thus congestion, must distinguish between the
private motorist and the essential business user. The consequence
otherwise is the gradual erosion of British competitiveness and
a commercial environment that discourages risk and investment.
The courier and express industry exists to provide "just
in time" services and has little choice but to use roads
to deliver to its customers. Whatever the cost of fuel, our members
will be forced to purchase but with the knowledge that these costs
will eventually be passed on to customers. There is no doubt that
unless costs are managed effectively, AICES members will either
find themselves unable to compete or with customers who can no
longer afford their services. Either way, the economy suffers.
5. The debate about how to reduce congestion
and pollution whilst maintaining individual liberty and business
competitiveness is a complex one. The Government has already shown
that it is willing to create fiscal incentives to achieve its
aims by reducing car tax for motor vehicles under 1000 cc. We
believe a similar creative approach is required in the debate
about taxation on fuel. The Government could, for example, create
new fiscal benefits for gas or electric vehicles or reduce significantly
other costs for businesses involved in distribution. What AICES
believes is imperative, is for the Government to recognise that
a policy that maintains a high fuel duty will have negative implications
for business and individuals who have little choice but to rely
on fuel for their everyday lives. In this sense, AICES does not
believe that a uniform policy can be appropriate without quid
pro quo concession for essential users.
30 October 2000