RHA hopes lorry week will attract recruits to industry

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The Road Haulage Association is hoping to attract new recruits to the industry through National Lorry Week which starts on Monday 11th September.

The theme this year is “The Next Generation”, and the RHA says the industry needs to recruit 1.2 million more people by 2022 including drivers, workshop technicians, warehouse staff and management.

Events during National Lorry Week include a Parliamentary reception, and an event at Auto Trader HQ in Manchester to tackle diversity in the workplace. The RHA said members would be engaging with schoolchildren, students and members of the public at schools, colleges and in town centres.

* The RHA has won a concession from tax officials on Overnight Allowances for lorry drivers. It has begun negotiation with HMRC after members complained that newly imposed rules were confusing, unfair and were costing them money. At the heart of the row was an insistence from the tax officials that drivers must produce receipts to cover the exact cost of the Overnight Allowance they are paid to cover subsistence when they are sleeping in their cabs on long haul trips.

HMRC has now issued new guidance which means drivers won’t have to produce receipts totalling the exact amount payable under the overnight allowance and that other means of recording expenses, such as digital photographs on a smartphone will be acceptable to the tax authorities.

Andrew Brookes, head of employer solutions at accountancy firm, Menzies LLP, said: “The commercial fleet industry will be very pleased with the concessions negotiated by the RHA. These will make it far easier for both drivers and fleet operators to manage the new tax regime relating to Overnight Allowances

“Fleet operators have been concerned about the increased administration ever since the abolition of dispensations in April 2016. From that date, a bespoke agreement has been required if hauliers or logistics companies wanted to reimburse more than the standard amounts, or want to adopt the industry rates negotiated by the RHA. Without this, such payments are taxable. HMRC has been concerned that some companies might have been abusing the system in order to provide tax-free payments when they are not due and are understandably keen to ensure that this is stamped out. Consequently, they were seeking to impose onerous procedures on firms to prevent abuse.”

“According to the RHA, as a result of the concessions agreed, drivers will no longer be required to provide receipts equating to exactly the right amount to cover their Overnight Allowances. While evidence must be obtained by the driver, they will only need to provide this to their employer if asked to do so. They will be allowed to supply receipts in a digital format – for example, a photo taken on a smartphone – which will make things much easier for drivers and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy for managers. We would recommend drivers are instructed to take a photo of a receipt rather than simply the food they have bought to avoid the risk of an HMRC officer saying there is no evidence to show that the meal was purchased by the driver and therefore the exemption does not apply.”

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