Fuel crisis did hurt, say FDs

Many UK finance directors expressed support for the views of the fuel protesters as 57% told this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel Big Question that their businesses had suffered in the disruption.

Finance directors complained that the knock-on effects of the crisis had caused their business to lose money. They highlighted the collapse in the supply chain, delayed post and cancelled appointments and meetings.

The findings came as the Confederation of British Industry this week warned the crisis would cost British business hundreds of millions of pounds.

‘Our entire department was unable to function, we were unable to reach clients to repair their computers. My staff and I on the whole agreed with the principles of the blockades. There is a disproportionate amount of tax levied on the petrol price,’ said Gregg Thorpe, FD at CC Engineering.

Ian Drinkwater, FD at Applelec, which specialises in metal fabrication, commented: ‘Unable to complete orders or deliver them, causing backlog. Mr Blair won’t be getting my vote next time.’

Other complaints bordered on the desperate. ‘Concerns as to whether business will be still running in a couple of weeks time. Have had to put recruitment plans on hold,’ said one FD.

‘Starting to have difficulty in delivering to customers. We have lost orders to competitors,’ said another.

There was also strong support for the views of the protesters among 33% of who said their businesses had been relatively unscathed. ‘Everyone still turning up for work,’ said one FD who preferred to remain anonymous.

But he added: ‘I think the price needs to go down.’ Ten per cent remained neutral.

Digby Jones, CBI Director-General, commented: ‘The government should not think it has got out of jail. Britain needs a road-use tax system that supports competitiveness and encourages efficiency.’

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