Road Haulage Association

Haulage Industry News

A budget for the voters…just not these ones!

Chancellor George Osborne delivered a highly political budget on 19 March.

With a General Election looming this was no surprise. If you are: employed, a first time house buyer, a saver, like beer, work in the entertainment industry and live on a Scottish island with no Internet; you got a result.

As far as this industry was concerned, yet again, we got some cold comfort.

The Chancellor failed to make a financial commitment to targeted funding for hauliers to address the driver shortage, despite intensive lobbying by the RHA.

The rejection at this stage of our call for support is a poor decision for the economy, for tax receipts and for the industry. But we note his commitment to finding an: ‘industry-led solution with the right level of access to, and funding support for training.’ We look forward to further discussions.

The government will review the speed with which HGV driving tests and driver medical assessments currently take place and will consider options to accelerate both in order to help address the shortage of qualified drivers.

I understand the issues here are down to a lack of resources at DVLA and DVSA. The government has to address this, otherwise any ‘industry-led solution” will stall before it gets off the line!

The expected announcement of a continuing freeze on fuel duty was a relief all the same; but the government still hasn’t got the message that a cut would bring broader economic rewards.

HGV VED was frozen and there were wins for small businesses and all businesses will welcome the reduced rate of corporation tax.

Our lobby for funding support and all other driver shortage related issues will now be even stronger in the coming weeks. I would like to thank the many RHA members and other organisations that have supported this work so far and continue to do so. But with the election only five weeks away all of you have a golden opportunity to bend the ear of MPs and potential MPs.

The current administration could be gone by 9 May and what replaces it needs to take a crystal clear message from our industry into government. It’s a simple equation: No drivers, no trucks. No trucks, no deliveries. No deliveries equal shortages. They’ll get the next bit.

Meanwhile, the RHA is committed to pressing ahead with its programme of advising members, promoting the industry and working to improve drivers’ conditions.

 

Richard Burnett

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