Britain’s road hauliers back ‘Leave’

13th June 2016

The results of a Road Haulage Association (RHA) survey released today show a clear majority of members believe that leaving the European Union (EU) would be in the best interests of their companies.

The results show that 61% are in favour of their company leaving the EU, while 30% wish to remain part of the EU and 10% are still undecided.

Results from this RHA survey are in stark contrast to a number of other surveys conducted in similar industrial and commercial sectors, indicating that companies would prefer to remain within the EU.

Opinions expressed by members wishing to leave the EU included the perception that membership of the EU had increased the regulatory burden, and helped foreign hauliers compete unfairly. Many also cited wider political reasons for their decision.  There is also concern over issues such as trucks from abroad crossing UK borders filled with cheap diesel to avoid paying fuel duty. Another concern was that companies from outside the UK are able to hire cheaper labour, making it difficult for hauliers to compete.

Opinions expressed by members wishing to remain included the importance of membership for trade.

Other respondents expressed frustration at what they see as a lack of clear unbiased factual arguments on both sides.

The survey also indicates that opinion is sharply divided between smaller and larger hauliers. Among the SME member organisations (operating less than 65 vehicles), 62% expressed a desire to leave, and only 28% felt they should remain.  By comparison, the majority of companies running larger fleets of vehicles showed they wanted to remain, seizing 80% of the vote.  Only 17% of those larger companies felt they would benefit from leaving the EU.

The RHA remains neutral on the referendum, but commenting on the results, chief executive Richard Burnett said:  ‘The numbers speak for themselves. They show a very strong difference of view between SME and larger haulage companies. And it is a reality that a significant proportion of those saying they believe ‘Leave’ is in their best interests cite wider political reasons.  It’s also clear that many of our members are frustrated by what they see as a lack of clear independent facts in the debate.’

The Road Haulage Association represents more than 7,000 road haulage and logistics companies across the UK that operate around 100,000 HGVs.  It is the only UK trade association dedicated exclusively to road freight.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

1. 80% of UK freight is moved by road
2. 1.7 million people work in the haulage and logistics industry
3. The sector is the UK’s fifth largest employer
4. 600,000 HGV licence holders working in the industry
5. Industry worth £74bn to UK economy
6. 496,800 commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes are registered in the UK.
7. The question asked was “Thinking about the upcoming EU Referendum, what outcome for the United Kingdom would be in the best interests of your organisation?” with multiple choice answers available, “Leave the European Union”, “Remain a member of the European Union”, or “Don't know”.
8. The RHA is the only UK trade association solely focussed on the needs of UK road transport Industry.