Courier boss joins growing Times bid to stop the tolls

PUBLISHED: 15:05 03 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:46 25 August 2010

A BUSINESSMAN who runs a courier service has pledged his support to our 'Stop the Toll' campaign after being hit by the crippling crossing increase.

A BUSINESSMAN who runs a courier service has pledged his support to our 'Stop the Toll' campaign after being hit by the crippling crossing increase.

Mark Giles, managing director of Abby Couriers, estimates the hike at the Dartford River Crossing will add £5,000 a year on operating costs.

The firm which employs 200 staff, 175 of them drivers, has a head office in Basildon, Essex, but has many customers based in Dartford, Gravesend and Maidstone.

This month we launched a campaign to axe the tolls for a trial period of ONE month to see the difference in traffic flows and costs for users of the tunnels and QE2 Bridge.

He urged other business owners to support the Kentish Times campaign and pressure the government in to axing the toll.

Mr Giles said: "I support any campaign that seeks to bring toll charging at the Dartford River Crossing to an end.

"A month trial would allow us to see first hand the effect on traffic flow and the financial respite it will give to businesses and general users of the crossing.

"At this tough economic time, especially for businesses, this is the perfect opportunity for the government to make a sensible and favourable cut in our costs.

"We have five drivers who are each crossing the river up to three times a day.

"The 50 per cent increase in tolls will cost us an extra £4,680 a year for the regular deliveries across the Thames and with head office trips included this will be close to £5,000 each year.

"In this current climate we are scared to pass the cost on to the customer so we have to cover it and it's a direct cost to the firm at a time when the government claim to be helping businesses."

Mr Giles also appealed for the government to commit quickly to the proposal of deferring the VAT and PAYE payments to stimulate businesses.

He claims the pre-budget report where VAT is down 2.5 per cent in a bid to help businesses is not effective as the fuel excise duty has risen by the same amount.

"I find the whole thing amazing. I have drivers stuck in traffic as the tolls clog up while people search for an extra 50p. This campaign needs listening to and I am glad the paper is fighting this," he added.

"Deferring the payments (VAT and PAYE) all businesses make will give us a boost, a bit of leeway, and it won't cost them anything. If the government did this and scrapped the tolls we could all look forward to 2009."

Abby Couriers was founded in 1994. The family run firm's head office is on Luckyn Lane, Basildon.

Its main business is providing Same Day Delivery Services across the UK and Europe. Clients include DHL, FEDEX and TNT.

n To show your support sign our online petition at www.bexleytimes. or fill in the coupon below and send it to our offices at Unit 4, The Courtyard 7A Manor Road, Gravesend DA12 1AA.

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