7.9.2022 | Logistics

RHA responds to Liz Truss becoming new Prime Minister

RHA Executive Director, Rod McKenzie asks the government for action on fuel, facilities, skills shortage, and the journey towards net zero. 

The RHA has previously worked with Truss as Foreign Secretary on the Northern Ireland Protocol during a visit to RHA member McCulla Ireland and other roundtable discussions with our policy lead for NI, John Martin.

She said at the time that close engagement with the RHA and other stakeholders would be necessary to ensure the protocol’s changes were fit for purpose.

Cost of living

The current cost of living is driven by high fuel prices. Increased costs in the logistics sector are always passed on to the end consumer. Support in this area will help not just providers themselves but will reduce prices on basic goods for everybody.

We, therefore, ask the Government to:
Take action to reduce the cost of fuel through tax relief, introducing a targeted essential user rebate for commercial operators like HGVs and coach operators.

Skills
Next, our industry has an acute skills shortage and an estimated shortage of 65,000 HGV drivers nationally as well as a lack of coach drivers.

The road transport industry faces significant challenges with a record number of UK job vacancies combined with low unemployment. Without further action, these risks could impact our economic recovery.

We want the Government to commit to more flexible access to funding for roles across logistics, including reform of the Skills Levy. Also, to work in partnership with the industry to promote the breadth of career options and routes into the sector.

Planning and Facilities
A reputation for low quality, overcrowded roadside facilities paints a picture of poor working conditions for HGV drivers that leads to significant problems in recruitment and retention.

We ask Government to update relevant planning laws and policies to recognise the importance of roadside facilities and encourage planning authorities to grant permission for new facilities.

Also, we want the introduction of a cross-Government task force to review all existing driver facilities and work with the industry on a long-term solution and increase the funding provided to improve and increase the provision of safe and secure driver facilities and parking spaces.

Net zero
The industry knows the part it has to play in the move to net zero; companies are not afraid to invest in the future, but the risk of stranded assets and the problems of low supply significantly increases the risk for hauliers and coach operators, who are predominantly small businesses.

We ask the Government to support our vital small businesses as they plan their net zero investments, ensuring a realistic timescale and regulatory certainty for the phase-in of low and zero-emission vehicle technologies.

Coach operators are vital to the tourism supply chain and in supporting local tourism. They operate in our coastal communities that are part of the focus of the Levelling Up agenda, encouraging economic activity and growth in these areas.

We ask Government to protect the interests of the coach industry and engage with them fully in the development of new policies on road safety and low/zero emission vehicles. Also, to recognise coaches as a key part of the tourism supply chain.

Source: Road Haulage Association