I wholly appreciate the challenges that this pandemic has presented to the road haulage sector and please rest assured that I am greatly appreciative of the role that road hauliers are playing in the national effort to the fight Coronavirus. I have been following the industry’s situation closely and listening carefully to the views of hauliers within my Broxtowe constituency.
I welcome the practical steps that have been taken to support this industry. As part of this, the Government has extended the validity of Driver Qualification Cards (DQCs) with expiry dates from 1st February 2020 to 31st August 2020 by seven months. The extension offers drivers an extra seven months to complete their 35 hours of periodic training. On top of this, drivers whose licences have or are due to expire this year will be able to receive a temporary one-year licence, providing they remain fit to drive.
Road hauliers are also able to draw on the wide-ranging package of financial support made available by the Government. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, offering loans of up to £50,000, with a 100 per cent Government-backed guarantee for lenders. For further information on the range of support that is available, please go to https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19#paying-tax.
My present understanding is that the Government does not have plans to introduce a financial support scheme specifically for haulage businesses whose vehicles are idle due to Coronavirus. However, I have been assured by Ministers that they will keep their present position under review.
The Department for Transport continues to engage with the Road Haulage Association, the Freight Transport Association and others to fully establish the challenges facing the industry. This has allowed the Government to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place and to identify any issues that hauliers are experiencing when accessing the support available.
EXPIRES ON 18.11.20