The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has written to the Chancellor to urge him to put measures in the forthcoming budget that will support the modernisation of builders’ merchants’ delivery vehicles.

The BMF states in the letter that transport is the second biggest operating cost for builders’ merchants after wages.

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF, said: “Our members tell us that the best action the Chancellor could take to support our industry would be to provide incentives for the modernisation of delivery vehicles.

“Currently merchants are limited in the types of vehicles that they can use, often needing diesel HGVs to move heavy materials like bricks and timber that use lifting gear to load/unload them. Rising costs, coupled with planned Clean Air Zones that aim to control access to cities or set entry charges, could have a hugely significant impact on merchants.”

Based on a recent member’s survey, the BMF lists five key asks of the Chancellor in its letter:

• Resist the temptation to increase Road Fuel Duty and maintain the freeze on all fuels

• Protect the funds previously allocated to develop alternative fuels for HGVs

• Be sparing in any Vehicle Excise Duty increase HM Treasury apply linked to the Retail Prices Index

• Be clear to explain changes in tax treatment of business vehicles to favour cleaner models

• Find money to fund a diesel scrappage scheme to help SMEs replace lorries, trucks and vans.