RHA Messenger 29 March

29th March 2017

New twist on overnight allowances

The RHA is stepping up its campaign against the new requirement, from April 6, to undertake random checks of receipts related to the RHA/HMRC overnight allowance.

In the latest twist to this unsatisfactory affair, HM Treasury has just launched a consultation on employee expenses. We were told in 2014 that there would be no change to current arrangements until a review. At that time, it was expected that a report would be published in spring 2016 but the review was shelved – and has just been re-launched. This is further evidence that HMRC is renaging on its area commitment.

Our response has been for the call for the requirement to check receipts to stopped, at least until this consultation is completed. Our press release is HERE.

We urge members to explain to their MP why HMRC’s new demands are unnecessary, inappropriate and damaging to the industry. A specimen letter is available from j.semple@rha.uk.net

Meanwhile, we still await clarification on several points of detail from HMRC on how the new arrangements will work. These have been promised by the end of the week.

 

HMRC ducks low-wage issue

HMRC minister Jane Ellison has thus far failed to respond to the RHA’s request for a meeting to discuss enforcement of the National Living Wage. We wrote on February 14.

Meanwhile, thousands of foreign lorries are on UK roads with drivers whom, we believe, are paid well below the NLW. Virtually no tax or are duties are paid in respect of these operations, many of which would otherwise be done by British hauliers.

There is often little or no place to park overnight due to these trucks – giving an extra twist to HMRC’s new red tape imposed on British hauliers in respect of overnight allowences.

The RHA supports the right of foreign hauliers to come to the UK, and to compete. The competition should be fair, however, and haulage and tax rules should be enforced.

 

£300 penalty for 45-hour rest in cab

DVSA is to start imposing a £300 fixed penalty/financial penalty deposit which will be issued to drivers taking their 45-hour weekly rest in their cab “subject to stakeholder views”. This has been revealed in a parliamentary written reply by transport minister Lord Ahmad.

The RHA called for the enforcement action and we believe that the £300 penalty is entirely appropriate, especially where the vehicle is not in a proper truckstop. We are urging the Department for Transport to get on with enforcing this element of drivers’ hours rules. Please see HERE.

 

‘2017 a tipping point on roads’

The Asphalt Industry Alliance says that 2017 is a tipping point on local roads. It has published its latest annual survey highlighting neglect and under-investment in maintenance: http://www.asphaltuk.org/alarm-survey-page/

Members are urged to identify the impact of worsening road surfaces on their business, including comments from drivers.  We are particularly keen to hear from owner-operator members: campaigning@rha.uk.net

 

TfL Direct Vision Standards – You must have your say

As highlighted last week, TfL propose that the Direct Vision Standard, starting in 2020, will result in half the HGV fleet that enters London being banned by 2024. This includes new Euro VI vehicles you may be ordering today.

Following on from Messenger last week and the response we have had from members, we have pulled together the questions that TfL are asking HGV operators – these are available HERE for you to review and to help you prepare a response. The RHA will be responding before the deadline on the 18th April, but we also recommend members impacted take the chance to respond directly. Please let us know your views on what TfL is doing and on its consultation by emailing d.buchanan@rha.uk.net

The RHA press release can be found HERE.

Members can also share their views (please politely focus on how changes will impact your business) with the Mayor HERE, and if you are based in London with London Assembly Members HERE.

 

Haulage after Brexit

The RHA’s top Brexit priority relates to arrangements after we come out of the customs union, as in our press release HERE. We welcome member feedback on this and other issues related to leaving the EU at brexit@rha.uk.net

 

Highways England – Dart Charge Survey

Highways England are continually looking to improve on the service they deliver, and they feel the best source of information will be gained from talking to customers who use the crossing.

In order to identify the different types of customers, Highways England have complied a  couple of short surveys which are included below.

Highways England would be grateful if you could spare a few minutes to complete the Dart Charge Commercial Survey (1) from a business perspective and share the Dart Charge User Survey (2) with individuals in your organisation who use or are affected by Dart Charge.

1) Dart Charge Survey: Commercial Customers Survey Link HERE.

2) Dart Charge User Survey Link HERE.

Highways England will not share any of the information you provide, with any other organisation in such a way that is attributable to you.