The RHA is calling on Government to establish a relevant transport policy needed to achieve a cost-effective route to success. If the current challenges facing the industry are not urgently addressed, the sector responsible for moving 85% of the UK economy will be placed in jeopardy.
The UK logistics industry is the fifth largest industry in the UK employing 1.8m people and contributing £78bn to the economy. The competitiveness and productivity of the economy relies on an efficient road haulage industry.
The up and coming General Election presents an opportunity for politicians to support the road haulage industry and as Brexit approaches, to re-examine the key issues facing the industry.
The RHA have put together a manifesto which focusses on five of the most prominent issues facing haulage operators up and down the country.
These issues are:
1 – Road Investment & Facilities to Support Competiveness
Investment in roads and infrastructure is critical in ensuring the industry can work efficiently and safely.
Investment in the road network is essential. The RHA propose the Government needs to:
• Ensure that investment in roads is sufficient to provide a congestion free road network.
• Ensure that adequate investment is made for the ‘last mile’ of delivery, i.e. on local roads.
• Ensure that technology is used to help ensure more efficient use of available road space.
• Improve modern rest facilities on the road network for drivers. These should also be secure facilities for their vehicles.
2 – Fuel Duty (The unfair fuel duty differential between the UK and the rest of Europe)
Fuel represents over a third of a hauliers operating cost and the current level of fuel duty, the highest in Europe at 57.95ppl, represents a hugely significant cost to the industry and is a massive tax on the entire supply chain.
The RHA proposes the next Government needs to:
• Reduce the differential between duty rates in the UK and the rest of the EU.
• Rebalance the uncompetitive advantage that EU hauliers currently exploit in the UK through bringing in full tanks of cheaper diesel from the EU and never filling up in the UK.
• Take into account that for the prosperity of UK plc, the government needs to act in a post Brexit landscape to support hauliers and the UK supply chain.
3 – Emissions & Local Air Quality (including the need for a realistic HGV scrappage scheme)
The RHA say the next Government needs to:
Encourage cities and regions to target local air quality improvement on areas where air quality is at its worst, the priorities include:
• tackling congestion in pollution “hot spots” (usually where there are a higher proportion of buses and taxis)
• encouraging the retirement of old buses and taxis (especially those that are pre Euro V)
• reducing congestion through better traffic management and control or roadworks
• removal of restrictions that force HGVs to use congested roads at peak times.
• implement a realistic vehicle scrappage scheme for hauliers operating pre-Euro VI HGVs
Ensure that plans to restrict HGVs around the country are:
• Phased to get the quickest air quality benefits while ensuring businesses have time to adapt.
• Not penalise hauliers who have followed the advice of previous governments.
• Fully costed and measured against the benefits they will bring.
• Simple and uniform in their application across the country to ensure hauliers do not face unnecessary costs.
The driver shortage is increasing as the number of drivers retiring from the industry exceeds new entrants. The sector and the Government are working together to improve driver training to increase the supply of new drivers and to improve their working environment.
RHA say the next Government needs to work with the industry to:
• Ensure that they deliver the required funding for the newly agreed Trailblazer apprenticeship and that the RHA can act as an intermediary for smaller firms.
• Implement a mechanism to help fund licence acquisition. This is absolutely critical for encouraging new entrants, in particular those leaving schools and colleges. The cost of obtaining a HGV license is up to £5,000 and therefore beyond the reach of many.
• Support industry employment schemes and explore other means of expanding initiatives such as Road to Logistics, a charitable organisation backed by the RHA and Care after Combat that matches jobseekers with employers and is aimed at reducing unemployment and reoffending. It has particular focus on the disabled, young people leaving care, veterans and ex-offenders. This works alongside another RHA initiative, ‘She’s RHA’, to help to encourage women into our sector.
• Support and help our industry build on the success of the RHA’s first two national awareness weeks, ‘Love the Lorry’ aimed at improving the image of the industry in the eyes of the media, the public, policy makers, potential industry recruits and of course the next generation.
5 – Brexit (Including measures to maintain border control in Calais)
The RHA and its members are clear about the outcomes needed when the UK finally exits from the EU. The next Government needs to:
• Retain the current UK border at Calais and ensure that the Le Touquet agreement remains in place to maintain the juxtaposed border controls in each country.
• Ensure frictionless customs procedures at borders to allow easy movement of goods across Europe, especially at Calais and between Eire and Northern Ireland.
• Ensure that the current licensing system for HGVs on international journeys between the UK and the EU remains.
• Ensure that our industry retains the ability to recruit HGV drivers and other workers from abroad based on the industry needs.
Do you agree with the RHA or do you have a different opinion? We have seen the results from the driver shortage survey and the drivers seem to want a different approach to the skills shortage.