Thousands of small firms across the UK could see their annual fuel bill rise by up to £4,000, if the proposed 3p rise in fuel duty is given the green light in the Budget 2013. Figures from Lex Autolease indicate that a typical SME or haulier running a fleet of approximately 20 vans each covering 30,000 miles per year could see fuel costs rise by more than £300 a month in September due to the planned fuel duty hike. With eight in 10 small businesses in the UK using vehicles for their work, any fuel duty rise will be felt widely and lead to profit margins tightening once more. Consultant at Lex Autolease, Chris Chandler, said: “A three pence rise in fuel duty would deliver a significant blow to small businesses, many of which are already facing challenging economic conditions and rising costs.” Jim Furey, Corporate Manager at SBF, commented: “The adage 'sales is vanity, profit is sanity, but cash is reality' applies as keeping cashflow healthy remains the priority for business owners”. “Many small businesses such as hauliers could benefit from an invoice finance facility to help unlock their cashflow and lessen the impact of macroeconomic factors such as rising inflation and fuel costs," he concluded.