The CV Show was a great success both as an event in itself and for the RHA, with existing members visiting the stand, new members recruited, services sold, and RHA campaigns being promoted. It was a real pleasure to meet and host Patrick McLoughlin MP, the Secretary of State for Transport, and to chair a meeting with a small number of members of RHA and our partners – the SMMT and the IRTE. This was followed by a tour of the show, which presented a great opportunity to make a number of points to the most senior transport politician.
We also welcomed Rob Flello MP, who is chair of the All Parlimentary Road Freight Group. The RHA is now funding an Intern – Sam Hargreaves – who works in his team at the House of Commons but who is employed by RHA. That is a real first for RHA and we should never miss an opportunity to point this out to members and non-members alike, as it gives us a direct link into the political machine.
As part owners of the CV Show, it was particularly good to hear so many exhibitors saying how pleased they were with visitor numbers and quality; and several made some sort of commitment to come back in 2014. Several companies, including HGV manufacturers, have already spoken to Crystal Communications – who market and operate the Show for the partners – and provisionally booked space. All in all it was a fantastic three days for the RHA – congratulations again to everyone who contributed to this success!
March saw yet another success for Fair Fuel UK, with another planned duty increased not just postponed but cancelled altogether. The organiser of Fair Fuel UK, Peter Carroll, approached RHA and FTA at the beginning of 2011 with an idea for a high profile political and media campaign designed to lobby for a new approach to fuel duty rises in the corridors of power in the Houses of Parliament and I and my FTA colleague, Theo de Pencier, were quick to recognise the benefit of the two organisations working together to fund the campaign, agreeing also that the campaign should relate to all fuel users. As a result, other backers have come on board and the challenge now is to move up a gear and to look for a real reduction in duty, rather than simply fighting proposed increases. Having said that, it is right to reflect on our success so far: March 2011, 5p inflationary rise postponed and a 1p cut given, smaller rise of 3p now planned for September 2011; August 2011, 3p rise postponed to 2012: January 2012, 3p rise postponed again to August 2012; August 2012, 3p rise postponed to Jan 2013 and January 2013, 3p rise cancelled March 2013, 3p rise planned for Sept 2013 cancelled. There is absolutely no doubt that the Fair Fuel UK’s campaign, of which RHA is a major and founder member, has been spectacularly effective and is now a significant influence in Parliament.