Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Road Haulage Association Appalled By New Cash Requirements For Truckers

EU Requirements mean Increased Cash Reserves Required – but RHA Also Face Problems
Shipping News Feature

UK – The Road Haulage Association have expressed their objection in the strongest possible terms after the Department of Transport declared any company plying for hire and reward under normal licences must now have cash reserves 30% above what was formerly required. Previously a freight haulier was required to show cash reserves of £6,200 for the first vehicle in a fleet then £3,400 for each subsequent truck. The revised figures, in place from the 1st of this month are £8,100 and £4,500 respectively.

The increase is due to the devaluation of the pound against the Euro over the past year or so. The Department of Transport are implacable and state that under the European Directive (96/92/EC) any EU state which does not have the euro as its currency must revalue under a fixed formula every five years.

Geoff Dunning, RHA Chief Executive said, “This increase represents one of the biggest bombshells ever to hit UK transport operators. In the current economic climate, an increase of any kind will have a detrimental effect; this substantial hike could have a catastrophic effect on our industry”.

He went on to say the organisation was ready and willing to guide its members through the financial requirement process. Additionally it was in discussion with the Senior Traffic Commissioner as to how the rules should be applied by Traffic Commissioners countrywide and with the Department for Transport requesting they approach the European Commission with a view to delaying implementation of the changes which amount to an extra burden for hauliers in troubled times.

The RHA statement continued, “In a submission made before Christmas, the RHA stressed that it had no desire to see operators running trucks that they could not afford to operate safely. However, the current financial standing rules go well beyond that. Meanwhile, we have noted to both Government and the Traffic Commissioners that the financial standing requirement for restricted licence holders remains unchanged at £3,100 and £1,700. The fact that the UK has chosen to freeze the level for such firms to avoid further regulatory burden underlines the harshness of the financial burden that is now being imposed”.

In other RHA news the organisation must appear before an employment tribunal In Surrey to answer a claim of unfair dismissal by an employee who was among several laid off at the Association’s Weybridge HQ last year when they reorganised and shifted responsibilities for various duties to Peterborough.

The organisation’s pension fund is said to have shown a shortfall of £1.6 million when, like many similar schemes, it was revalued at the end of 2007. No one at the RHA was available for comment on the matter at the time of going to press.