Autumn Statement: The RHA's Asks for Costs & Regulation
We know that the road transport industry is not the only one struggling in the current economic climate. Across the board, you will hear trade associations and individual businesses discussing the same issues: rising costs, lower revenues, more red tape.
However, these factors are not only particularly acute in the road transport and logistics sector, but they also have a knock-on effect on other businesses. If road haulage is struggling, businesses downstream of that will struggle too.
We are the canary in the coal mine, and without a successful and robust road transport industry, other business and consumers will also suffer.
Over the past year, the costs of operating an HGV have increased by nearly 10%, excluding fuel costs. In 2022, operators saw their energy bills spike dramatically. As a result of these increases in recent years, many operators are running at a loss with margins wiped out by cost increases. Insolvencies are on the rise and demand has slowed with freight volumes down by 10%.
Many HGV and coach operators are SMEs, and so simply cannot cope with costs increasing further. We will continue to campaign for the Government to maintain the freeze on Vehicle Excise Duty, as well as push for reductions to the cost of fuel. In order to help operators plan for the future, we also need to secure firm commitments from the Government not to increase fuel duty in the Spring.
In a broader sense, the Government needs to rethink how our industry is regulated in order to reduce unnecessary burdens on hauliers. Ours is already a highly regulated industry, and between navigating the contrasting requirements of local authorities’ clean air zones, dealing with red tape at the border, and complying with strict standards in training and working hours, many businesses are finding themselves tangled up in red tape.
We speak to our members constantly – travelling the length and breadth of the country, holding meetings and briefing sessions in every part of our nation throughout the year. We know the pressures HGV and coach operators are facing, and we will continue to bring them to the Government, emphasising how central road haulage is to the wider functioning of the economy.