Research published recently by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) confirms what many companies and truck drivers have felt for years: raising duty on diesel fuel and/or increasing vehicle excise duty on trucks would result in greater costs to road haulage businesses. The findings suggest the changes would come at a collective cost of around £9.3 billion for all those in the industry. |
The research was commissioned by “FairFuelUK” and further confirms that lower fuel prices made a significant contribution to increased investment, lower production costs and higher consumer spending over 2015.
Road Haulage Association CEO, Richard Burnett, was recently quoted as saying that: “…if these important improvements are to be maintained, it is crucial that the Chancellor announces a fuel duty cut in his Autumn Statement”.
Chancellor Must Legislate Lower Duties and Encourage Driver Training
Whilst the benefits of lower fuel prices are evident, it would seem they’re based on fluctuating market prices. The RHA says that, in order to maintain present levels, and even better them, the Chancellor must legislate lower fuel and vehicle duties to help maintain costs at a relatively stable level and help combat fluctuating prices. Currently, UK fuel duty is the highest in the EU at 57.95 p. a litre.
Furthermore, increased demand for road haulage services has exacerbated one of the haulage industry’s long-standing problems – the shortage of qualified, professional HGV drivers needed to take up the demands for extra delivery work.
In his statement to the press, Burnett said that if the haulage industry is to be able to meet the demands of domestic haulage and continue to serve the public, there is a real and immediate need to put 40,000 to 50,000 new HGV drivers behind the wheel.
The new Dept. of Business, Innovation & Skills finally approved the Trailblazer Apprenticeship programme (due to be launched in September 2017) which will go to great lengths to meet the need for more drivers. But until then, a stopgap measure is needed or the industry runs the risk of not being able to meet demands and will, consequently, lose business.
The RHA suggests that the government supply £150 million directly to haulage companies who implement an approved training program for new HGV drivers. The cost would be recouped from increased income tax, NI contributions and added income from fuel duty thanks to the expected rise in demand for delivery work. In addition, having more UK drivers would reduce the need to use foreign drivers, who send an estimated £180 million a year back to their families abroad.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry across the UK and Europe. It provides services for matching delivery work and to buy and sell road transport and haulage work in the domestic and international markets. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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