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Sixteen percent of British hauliers claim they could be insolvent within four weeks, despite government furlough payments and bounce back loans offering a temporary reprieve, according to a survey carried out by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) on behalf of the Department for Transport in May 2020.

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

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.

 Reopen testing facilities, provide debt support and more flexible furlough rules!

The 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 chief executive, 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.

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” – Burnett added. “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.”

Photo: Oast House Archive/ Wikimedia Commons

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