Jobs to go as Honiton transport firm calls it a day

Business still in profit but margins are being squeezed by rising cost of fuel and impending legislation.

ONE of Honiton’s longest-established family businesses is to close with the loss of 14 jobs.

Kings Transport, which is based at Heathpark Industrial Estate, will cease trading at the end of March - a casualty of rising fuel prices and impending legislation.

Managing director Terry King told The Midweek Herald that, although the business is still in profit, is has lost a major contract and is facing escalating running costs.

As well as increases to fuel, the company faces replacing almost its entire fleet - to meet stringent new low emission zone regulations being introduced in London.

“All our suppliers and staff will be paid as normal until the planned closure,” said Mr King.

“Kings Transport continues to trade profitably, but this is becoming increasingly difficult - every time costs increase contracts need to be renegotiated and these are sensitive and time consuming.”

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Mr King is concerned that the government “continues to pile on the pressure”, despite the worst recession in living memory.

“It still sees fit to introduce legislation that only adds to costs,” he said.

And, he fears, if central government doesn’t add to the transport industry’s woes local councils will.

Increasing employer National Insurance contributions, new driver training schemes and new bank holidays are all putting a squeeze on the business sector, Mr King said.

He told The Herald that the risks are no longer worth the potential reward and that he is going to “take some time and reconsider my options”.

Mr King says he regrets the loss of jobs, pointing out that some of the staff “have been employed by this company for decades”.