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Northfleet haulage firm feel the pinch as prices soar

PUBLISHED: 12:06 19 January 2011 | UPDATED: 15:14 19 January 2011

Len Valsler

Len Valsler

Archant

-One of the country's leading independent road hauliers has been hit by a triple whammy which will push up its bills by more than a whopping £80,000 a year, it is claimed.

LV Transport based in Norfolk Road, Gravesend, is reeling after counting the cost of rising VAT, fuel prices and the soaring cost of going across the Dartford Crossing.

Owner Len Valsler, who started the business 35 years ago with one vehicle, says the extra will have to be passed on, first to customers and then to consumers.

He claims he will have to stump up an extra £3,800 a year going across Dartford Crossing when charges for lorries go up from £3.70 to £5 in April. That’s just the start. He’s just worked out that his diesel bills will soar by an extra £78,000 a year PLUS an extra £1,950 on VAT – a litre of diesel has gone up over the past exact year from 95p to 108p plus VAT.

He said: “Unfortunately, we have to pass that on to our customers and then it goes on again, to the public.

“When you add it all up it represents more than £80,000 a year, that’s a serious jump.

“We don’t like to pass the cost on we simply have no option.”

LV, which operates out of Norfolk Road, even had a range of Corgi toys cast on its 30th birthday in 2006. It has 30 vehicles and and 40 trailers.

However, there is some good news as barriers on the Dartford Crossing are going this year after Roads Minister Mike Penning said they are not working and he wants to speed up traffic through number plate recognition for charging.

But charging will remain, for cars £1.50 and going up to £2 this year and £2.50 next year.

The Department of Transport say the tolls, dealing with 150,000 vehicles a day, bring in about £40m in profit a year. Chancellor George Osborne recently defended the VAT increase from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent, saying it could boost employment and was better than raising income tax.

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