Support for Hauliers Transporting to and from the EU

Transport – in the House of Commons on 28th January 2021.

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Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

What steps his Department is taking to support hauliers transporting goods to and from the EU; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Rachel Maclean Rachel Maclean Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

We have rolled out a large-scale haulier communications campaign, opened 46 information and advice sites around the country and published our haulier handbook in 14 languages—all the languages that hauliers will be speaking when they come to the UK. We are also offering free covid-19 testing for hauliers at many of our information and advice sites.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

My hon. Friend may well know about the Road King truck stop, which is along the A5, not far from Burntwood. I was going to ask her a question about what work she is doing, but she has already answered it, so instead I will ask her this: when we are allowed to do so, will she join me for breakfast at the Road King?

Photo of Rachel Maclean Rachel Maclean Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

How could I possibly turn down such a wonderful invitation? I can tell my hon. Friend that I have already visited an information and advice site in Hopwood. It is a fantastic service, and there are thousands of hauliers visiting these sites up and down the country, including the Road King at Cannock. I would like to join him there, and hopefully he can tell me what the best breakfast is.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Transport)

I am afraid that my question for the Minister might be slightly tougher to answer. As she knows, the new three-stop limit will be devastating for UK hauliers working with touring musicians or on events that involve multiple stops in EU countries. This is such an important sector for the UK, and it has already been hit so hard by covid. Can the Minister at least acknowledge today that the Government’s failure to seek an exemption during the negotiations was a massive own goal? Will the Government get back round the negotiating table and sort this out before the summer, when we all hope that the live music scene will be open once again for business?

Photo of Rachel Maclean Rachel Maclean Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

We certainly share the hon. Lady’s desire to see the live music scene open once again in this country. The trade and co-operation agreement that the Government have negotiated with the EU is an excellent deal for our hauliers that allows 95% of haulier movements to continue as they did before. All hauliers who carry out work for a commercial purpose in the EU will be subject to the provisions of the UK-EU trade and co-operation agreement. It is really important to put on the record that during negotiations with the EU, the Government proposed exemptions for specialist hauliers such as the ones she referred to due to the nature of their businesses, but unfortunately the EU did not agree to those asks. However, because we recognise the important impact that this will have, we continue our discussions.