Monday, November 2, 2015

Road Haulage Group Says Government Fuel Duty Revenue Should Fund Freight Drivers

Skills Shortfall Needs Urgent Attention
Shipping News Feature
UK – Whilst most political eyes are focused on Tax Credit matters in the Chancellor's forthcoming Autumn Budget Statement, due on November 25, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) have pressed George Osborne to continue to freeze fuel duty, arguing the tactic actually makes financial sense. Furthermore the RHA insists that it has figures which demonstrate that, if some of the revenue which is passed to the Treasury for fuel duty by road freight operators was used to fund the driver shortfall, the investment would be recouped in terms of income tax and national insurance from the creation of new, and essential, UK driving jobs.

Additionally the organisation insists the increased number of vehicles required to accommodate the new jobs could raise road vehicle excise revenues and generate up to £275 million in fuel duty. At 57.95 pence per litre, UK-registered hauliers pay by far the highest levels of diesel duty in the EU. In Luxembourg, where many international transport firms draw fuel, the duty level is a mere 23 pence per litre. Even net of the one-off investment in training called for by the RHA, UK hauliers will still be paying by far the highest duty level in the EU. RHA chief executive Richard Burnett explained:

”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.”