§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure that British haulage operators do not face unfair competition as a result of tax increases proposed on vehicles running at an 11.5 tonne drive axle weight on roads in Britain. 
§ Ms Glenda Jackson
As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his pre-Budget statement on 3 November 1998,Official Report, columns 681–702, vehicle excise duty rates for goods vehicles with 11.5 tonne axle weights will be set to discourage strongly the use of such vehicles, in view of the additional road damage that they cause. The Integrated Transport White Paper stated that the Government would seek to encourage the use of goods vehicles with a maximum weight of 41 tonnes on 6 axles, which have the same payload as 40 tonnes on 5 axles but cause significantly less road wear.
The Government firmly believe that the best way to help industry, including hauliers, is to create a climate of sustainable economic growth and long-term investment in business. The last Budget included a number of general measures from which hauliers could benefit: main corporation tax will be reduced to 30 per cent. from 1 April 1999, and small companies' corporation tax rate will be cut to 20 per cent. from 1 April 1999.