Roadway Update 6 May 2020

6th May 2020

Furlough Reform now needed

Furlough has been a saviour for many people and companies across many sectors over the last 2 months.

Now is the time to look at how furlough can work best for people, businesses and government as commercial activity recovers over coming months.

Lockdown is evolving and RHA believes that furlough will also need to evolve too. 

The RHA has proposed reducing the 3 weekly minimum furlough period down to one week from June.  Changing to a minimum furlough period of 1 week will encourage companies to re-activate employees earlier knowing that those employees can be put back on furlough after just one week.

The reason for this suggestion is that during the early stages of recovery trade in many areas is going to be very variable. Sectors will start up in inconsistent and unpredictable ways.  This inconsistent restart is already being witnessed and will become more common in coming weeks.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “A weekly furlough will help bring employed staff back online quicker because it changes the minimum period a staff member has to be re-employed before they furloughed again.  It provides confidence to both business and employees at a time great uncertainty.

“We have already seen companies employing temporary drivers to deal with short term demand while keeping employed staff on furlough because a few days work for drivers could result in the drivers losing the chance to furlough again if trade does not recover beyond a few days.”

The RHA has asked the Chancellor to implement this measure and hopes it will become part of the package of measures for recovery for the whole economy, not just road haulage.

Concluding, Richard Burnett said: “Getting back to normal business activity – or as near to it as possible – while working safely is vital.  We think this measure will be good for businesses and employees, and it will probably reduce burdens on Government finance by encouraging more staff of furlough quicker than would otherwise be the case.”


RHA voices roadworthiness and testing concerns

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett has written to roads minister Baroness Vere, voicing its concerns regarding DVSA’s approach to roadworthiness testing.

Even before the COVID19 Coronavirus took hold the RHA was concerned about the relaxation of testing and DVSA’s approach. At a time when the industry is having to maintain vehicles to keep food and medicines moving, surely now is the time for decisive action to reintroduce, in June or July, delegated HGV testing?

HGV testing is an essential part of managing road safety and operators are pushing hard to gain clarity for when the suspension will be lifted for their operational planning. ATF businesses have also been closed by DVSA’s actions with no right of appeal and no suggested alternatives.

When testing recommences from what, in effect, will be a standing start, we are concerned that there will be an immediate backlog due to an insufficient number of DVSA examiners available to meet demand.

Our proposal for delegated testing is not new. But despite making many requests to DVSA to authorise qualified people to test trucks and trailers at ATF’s, in addition to their own employees, we are still at an impasse. Our preference would be for this to be a permanent measure but right now, it provides a good, short-term solution to get testing up and running quickly.


RHA tells chancellor that hauliers are facing collapse and insolvency

The RHA has written to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak with a plea to take urgent financial action to help thousands of haulage operators.

In his letter, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: road hauliers are the key workers that are keeping the economy moving in these extraordinary times. They’re keeping the nation fed by keeping shop shelves stocked and making sure that the thousands of front-line medical staff are supplied with the PPE they so desperately need, 24/7.”

 The RHA has proposed measures that provide practical solutions in five key areas.

  • A 100%, government-backed, invoice financing package (debt support).
  • Moving to a weekly furlough of staff to provide a flexible return to businesses.
  • A suspension of fuel duty and a rebate for hauliers.
  • A business rates holiday for all hauliers’ sites.
  • A lorry retention scheme for vehicles not being used (sector specific)

“If the economy is to recover from this,” Richard Burnett continued, “it is important that we can switch on the supply chain as individual sectors begin their recovery.

“No-one knows for sure when that will be, but we must make sure that the industry is up and ready to go at very short notice.


RHA Webinars

The current situation means that we are all having to adapt to working in a different way – something that we as an industry do remarkably well and, although they have only been running for a few weeks, they are proving to be tremendously successful and have seen hundreds of on-line attendees..

They cover a huge range of issues from the current situation (obviously), updates on operator compliance and best practice measures to London issues, Clean Air Zones and employment contracts.

To book your place on the next one, click here.

07.05.20          London issues, DVS, LEZ’s etc                                             Linda White

12.05.20          Roller brake testing, the requirements                                  Will Salkeld

14.05.20          Driver health and wellbeing – your responsibilities               Simon Priest

19.05.19          Employment contracts and what they should contain           Louise Moules

21.05.20          CAZ’s impact for operators                                                    Rhys Williams

26.05.20          Reducing insurance costs during COVID19        RHA Insurance Services


COVID19 information updates

You can access all of the RHA’s COVID19 information here, from our free news app, RoadwayLive and from our other social media channels -  Twitter @RHANews, Facebook and LinkedIn.

If you have any other issues you want to raise with us, please get in touch via our COVID19 feedback email address: and we’ll get back to you just as soon as we can.

And don’t forget to leave your contact number.