It was a busy week for those in the road haulage industry last week. The Commercial Vehicle show saw hundreds of industry delegates converge to discuss the needs and demands of hauliers.
Labour and the Conservatives also released their election manifestos last week. We have sought to compare the demands of industry experts with the promises made by the two largest parties, in order to gain a sense of who will do the most for hauliers after the election.
The trade associations set out their stall
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) have called for a better understanding and more recognition of road haulage from the next government.
From their platform at the Commercial Vehicle show last Tuesday, the industry trade bodies outlined exactly what it is that they want to see in the parties’ manifestos.
The RHA praised the sitting Government for their acknowledgement of some of the good work done by the haulage industry, but they insist that more still needs to be done to protect the interests of hauliers under the next government.
RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnet said: “The road haulage industry is an essential enabler of economic growth, employment and wealth creation. The UK economy can only grow and prosper if the public has pounds in its pockets.”
Key policies outlined in the RHA manifesto for action include:
- A 3 pence-per-litre reduction of fuel duty
- A straightforward grant system for driver recruitment
- A larger road maintenance budget
The RHA are urging hauliers and commercial vehicle operators to vote for a government which they think will help institute these policies.
The Freight Transport Association manifesto
The FTA also believes the Government needs to do more to recognise the importance that the logistics sector plays in everyday life.
Karen Dee, the Director of FTA policy said “Logistics underpins every aspect of modern life. It is utterly indispensable to the working of our home lives, our businesses, our schools and hospitals – everything.
“We can make logistics more efficient, but we need better support from the government. This doesn’t need to come with a huge price tag, but it does need greater understanding of the way we really operate and how government can work with us to achieve its own aims.”
The FTA shares many of the RHA’s policies for change, and they are particularly concerned about the shortage of drivers in the industry. The FTA’s “Solving the Driver Crisis Summit” attracted over 700 industry delegates and produced a five-point action plan to be taken to the Government.
The FTA driver shortage action plan:
- Secure government funding and support for licence-acquisition training
- To develop a national campaign to improve the standard of driver facilities at service areas and distribution centres
- To work with the insurance industry to secure a better deal for younger drivers
- To address public perceptions of the logistics industry and presenting it as a responsible place to work
- To reduce the administrative delays to getting drivers on the road
Labour and Conservatives transport manifesto analysis
To make it easier for hauliers to decide who would best advance their interests, we have conducted some manifesto analysis comparing the demands of the RHA with the commitments laid out in each party’s manifestos.
The Conservative manifesto does not contain a commitment to tackle driver shortages in the UK. It does not mention any cuts to fuel duty, although it does re-emphasise that they “abolished Labour’s fuel duty escalator” and froze fuel duty until 2015.
The Conservative manifesto commits to a sizeable investment in roads, naming northern roads, the A303, A47 and A27 as investment priorities.
Labour also does not mention the importance of hauliers in its manifesto. They do not mention driver shortages or fuel duty but do commit to investment in “strategic” and local roads.
It seems clear that both major parties could do a lot more to address the needs and demands of road hauliers and commercial vehicle operators.