Fuel tax rebate scheme would net €200m, say hauliers

THE exchequer is losing €200 million in potential revenue each year due to the Government’s reluctance to introduce a fuel tax rebate scheme for hauliers.

The claim was made yesterday in a pre-budget submission by the Irish Road Haulage Association, which said most hauliers were now opting to buy diesel on Continental Europe because of the absence of such a rebate system.

IRHA president, Eoin Gavin claimed the Government was missing out on €650 in excise and €340 in VAT per week from each haulier who filled his truck with diesel while abroad.

Mr Gavin said many other EU countries, including Belgium, France and Spain, operated a successful fuel rebate scheme for hauliers.

The association also estimated that the Government’s refusal to introduce a rebate system for farmers and other users of agricultural or marked diesel to combat fuel laundering is costing the exchequer a further €150m per annum.

The Government has so far resisted growing pressure to address the practice of dyeing diesel for agricultural use, which has sparked high level of illegal washing of such fuel, on the grounds it would prove too administrative a burden.

However, the association warned that many more hauliers face being put off the roads due to crippling fuel taxes.

Meanwhile, the United Left Alliance has called for new taxes on the rich and a reversal of cuts to social welfare and public services.

Launching its pre-budget statement yesterday, the alliance said austerity was not working and declared: “Tax the rich, invest in jobs.”

The group urged members of the public to participate in a protest outside the Dáil next week. “Our arguments will not be listened to by the Government,” Richard Boyd Barrett conceded. “The only thing that will make them listen is a sustained struggle involving protests and ultimately strike action the likes of which was seen in the North and Britain [on Wednesday].

The alliance claimed that €10 billion a year could be raised through an “asset tax” on the wealthy. It also called for income tax to be increased for all those earning more than €100,000 a year to raise another €5bn.

The grouping called for a €26bn “emergency programme” of state investment in infrastructure to create 150,000 jobs over five years.

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