have called for George Osborne to maintain the current freeze on fuel duty, pointing out that the freeze actually makes financial sense. The RHA insist that they have figures which confirm that, if some of the revenue generated and passed to the Treasury for fuel duty by haulage operators was used to fund the driver shortage crisis, the investment would be recouped in income tax and national insurance from the creation of new HGV driving jobs which are essential.
The RHA also insist that the increased number of HGVs required to accommodate the new jobs would raise vehicle tax revenues and generate up to £275m in fuel duty. In the UK hauliers pay 57.95p per litre in diesel duty, the highest in the EU. In Luxembourg the duty is only 23p a litre and this encourages many international haulage operators
to fill up there. Even net of the one off investment the RHA are calling for from the Government for training, UK haulage operators will still be paying the highest duty levels in the EU. Richard Burnett, Chief executive RHA, explains:
”We are asking the government to invest £150 million, equal to 2.6% of the total of fuel duty paid by HGV in a single year (equal to 1.52 pence/litre), into getting UK residents licenced and qualified to drive in the industry. This investment is vital to secure the future of the haulage industry and maintain and enable economic growth.
“The Chancellor has the power to kick-start a swift and effective reversal in the decline of the UK skills base in this essential service industry. We have been calling on him to act for more than a year and these figures demonstrate that government support for the industry on which the entire economy relies not only makes sense for growth, it can be self-funding and will boost Treasury coffers.
“This funding would be self-financing for HM Treasury, the extra investment in UK skills would reduce the industry’s reliance on drivers from abroad, which the RHA estimates leads to approximately £180 million in remittances sent back to those countries that would otherwise be spent in the UK, supporting employment and generating VAT.
“Immigration minister James Brokenshire has criticised UK firms for becoming too reliant on foreign workers, and we agree that is a big industry issue. But the government is doing nothing whatsoever to encourage firms to invest in UK skills. We currently have no alternative but to limit our aspirations for growth because of the cost of driver training, the HGV training sector is far smaller and weaker than it should be. We have now reached the point where haulage customers are becoming more and more concerned about how they are going to get their food, materials and products delivered to consumers.”