I recognise that the present situation is causing real difficulties for the road haulage sector. I also understand that the sector has a vital role to play in the national effort to combat the spread of the disease. I have been following the industry’s situation closely and listening carefully to the views of hauliers here in our constituency.
As the MP for Penrith and The Border, I am doing everything I can in Westminster and Cumbria to address the concerns of my constituents. I am feeding in requests to Government for support for all areas of our economy and community and will continue to do so. Equally, I am feeding in to Government regularly and pushing for more flexibility and breadth in the very welcome support schemes that the Government has introduced during this crisis.
I welcome that some practical steps have been taken to support the industry. For example, the Government has allowed drivers with Driver CPCs expiring between 1st March and 30th September 2020 to either take the training remotely or complete it after 30th September 2020. In addition, drivers whose licences have expired this year or will expire this year will be able to receive a temporary one-year licence, providing they are fit to drive.
Road hauliers are also able to draw on the unprecedented package of financial support made available by the Government, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the deferral of VAT payments and business rates relief. In addition, a new Bounce Back Loans Scheme has launched, offering loans of up to £50,000, with a 100 per cent Government-backed guarantee for lenders.
The full range of support can be viewed at the following link:
As far as I am aware the Government does not currently plan to introduce a financial support scheme specifically for haulage businesses whose vehicles are idle due to COVID-19. However, Ministers have said they will keep their position under review.
Indeed, I know that the Department for Transport is in regular contact with the Road Haulage Association, the Freight Transport Association and others to understand the challenges facing the industry, to make sure that appropriate measures are in place and to identify barriers road hauliers are facing in accessing the support available. I will also follow the industry’s situation closely going forward.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes