Memorandum submitted by Corus UK Limited
Corus is the largest steel company in the UK, making
some 15 million tonnes of liquid steel per annum on six sites.
The steel we make is further processed and approximately 50 per
cent is then sold to UK customers, either directly or via third
parties. The remaining 50 per cent is exported, mostly to other
European countries, with a smaller proportion going to North America
and the Far East.
Rail transport is used for 100 per cent of the
bulk raw material movements, as well as for the distribution of
semi-finished goods between our works; 85 per cent of finished
products are distributed by road, whether for delivery to a customer
in the UK or overseas.
The taxation burden levied on road hauliers
through fuel duty and vehicle excise duty is much higher, by factors
of two to 12, than in other EU countries. Corus spends about £100
million per annum on UK road transport. We estimate the impact
of these extra taxes when compared to what would be paid if located
in Continental Europe to be some £10 million per annum.
Corus does not support the actions of the fuel
protesters as a means of achieving more competitive levels of
fuel and vehicle taxation. Their action put in jeopardy continuous
steel plant operations at a time when Corus is under severe financial
pressure through an over-valued £ and the burden of increased
levels of business taxation. However, Corus would welcome any
action on the part of the Government that would reduce the pressure
on us and our UK customers from uncompetitive tax levels.
Whilst not directly part of your inquiry, Corus
should be one of the main beneficiaries of any increase in gross
vehicle weight limits to 44 tonnes (currently 38 to 40 tonnes).
Raising gross vehicle weights to 44 tonnes could eliminate up
to 85,000 annual lorry movements, saving a potential £18
million per annum and also making a significant contribution to
25 October 2000