UK Hauliers demand more Government COVID-19 recovery support

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UK Haulage firms have called on the British Government to do more to help them through the Coronavirus crisis as they gear up to drive economic recovery.

A survey of 600 road transport operators has revealed that the vast majority of hauliers are still struggling after pandemic lockdown measures have seen volumes collapse.

Sixteen percent of operators claim they could be insolvent within four weeks, despite Government furlough payments and bounce back loans offering a temporary reprieve. More than half call for a weekly furlough model to service inconsistent workloads and many urge the Treasury for help with business rates and standing costs.

Operators are concerned about their vehicles being safe to drive as they prepare to get trucks back on the road. Thirty percent fear they will struggle to secure MOTs as testing is still suspended.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has urged the Government to delegate the function to non-DVSA staff and reopen authorised testing facilities to start clearing a backlog that stands at around 100,000 trucks.

RHA CEO, Richard Burnett said financial packages have helped keep firms afloat but the industry needs more support to pull through the crisis and kick start recovery. “Hauliers have made it clear that ministers must pledge more help and remove the obstacles that will hamper firms’ efforts to get back on the road. Furlough scheme payments and bounce back loans have plugged some gaps but they won’t be enough to sustain cash-strapped businesses beyond the very short term. Debt support, flexible furlough rules and a DVSA commitment to quickly expedite the MOT backlog would boost the industry as it gears up for recovery.”

Key findings from the surveys:

69 percent of firms have successfully applied for furlough scheme funding.

18 percent have secured a bounce back loan – a further 13 percent await a decision and 2 percent have been unsuccessful.

16 percent of firms predict they could face insolvency and cease trading in the next four weeks

85 percent of hauliers who believe they could be gone in the next four weeks blame a drop in volumes.

57 percent of firms say a weekly furlough scheme is vital to help firms emerge from the crisis.

30 percent of firms fear a lack of roadworthiness testing availability will restrict their ability to recover from the crisis.

Access to finance is a concern for 27 percent and 17 percent are worried about driver health.

42 percent say a new scheme to contribute to standing costs for parked up/SORNed trucks is crucial