I recognise the real difficulties facing 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.
A range of measures have been implemented to support road haulage. For example, the qualification requirements for the Driver CPC have been amended, and it has also been made easier for Group 2 drivers who are fit to drive to renew their licences. I understand from Ministers that estimates suggest there is not currently a lack of HGV driver availability.
Hauliers can also benefit from the financial support made available by the Government, for example through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Businesses can also benefit from 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 Government will also pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months, and no repayments will be due in the first 12 months. A fast and simple online application process should make the loans easy to apply for, and the money should reach businesses in a matter of days.
The full range of support can be viewed at the following link:
I know that the Government continues to be in regular contact with representatives from the industry to understand the issues COVID-19 is causing for road hauliers. Ministers are also working with the industry to identify barriers to accessing the support which has been made available.
I can assure you that I will continue to follow the industry’s situation closely.