Rail fares due to increase in March by 3.8%

Rail fares due to increase in March by 3.8%

Rail fares increase in line with July’s RPI inflation rate

The government has confirmed that rail fares across England are due to increase by 3.8% in March 2022. This is the largest increase in rail fares within the last nine years with the increase being in line with July’s RPI inflation rate. However, this increase is less than many feared as rail fares increased by more than RPI inflation rate in March 2021.

 

Will the rail fare price increase result in fewer passengers?

Due to the pandemic, an increasing amount of people are now working from home, especially those that are in the commuter belt who will often use the train to travel to nearby cities for work.

This additional price increase is likely to result in fewer people using the train than in previous years. Industry leaders have suggested a freeze in rail fare prices in an attempt to get more passengers back on the railway. But, due to the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 passenger numbers are now falling again after a peak in November 2021 at around 70% of the pre-pandemic levels.

 

Treasury keen to reduce subsidy in rail

The government has invested over £14bn into rail services during the pandemic in order to keep rail services running. They have said that this fare increase would contribute towards meeting some of these costs. The rail minister Chris Heaton Harris has said that keeping rail fares in line with inflation strikes a fair balance.

The increase will be officially applied to regulated fares in England alone. However, it is likely that it will be reflected throughout the UK. Shadow transport secretary, Louise Haigh, has said that families who are already facing increasing taxes and bills will now be hit with a large increase to their daily commute costs which people may not be able to afford.

Others have also criticised the move as Paul Tuohy chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport has said that rail should be made as the affordable choice if the government is serious about reducing transport’s carbon footprint and believes rail fares should have been frozen to match the fuel duty freeze for cars.

 

How can we help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of Transport and Logistics accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton.

We act for a large number of clients in this sector across our three offices, ranging from hauliers to international couriers, and understand the challenges this dynamic sector faces.

Nearly every other commercial sector is reliant on the services transport and logistic businesses provide and, in many ways, this specialist sector is the linchpin for our country’s economy.

With our experience in the transport and logistics sector we are able to develop a close understanding of your business and, through active year round involvement, we can help you anticipate and deal with challenges quickly and effectively.

More from our transport and logistics experts

You can find all of our latest transport and logistics sector news and newsletters here.

If you are looking for advice in a particular area, please get in touch with your usual Hawsons contact.

Alternatively, we offer all new clients a free initial meeting to have a discussion about their own personal circumstances – find out more or book your free initial meeting here. We have offices in Sheffield, Doncaster and Northampton.

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All New Vehicles to be Zero Emission in the UK by 2040

All New Vehicles to be Zero Emission in the UK by 2040

Zero-Emission Vehicles

The UK has confirmed that all new HGVs in the UK will be zero-emission by 2040. Furthermore, by 2035, the UK has committed to phasing out all-new non-zero-emission HGV’s weighing 26 tonnes or less. This is in addition to the UK’s 2030 phase out for petrol and diesel cars and vans. At COP26 a group of industry leaders and ministers committed to working towards 100% zero-emission new car and van sales by 2040 globally and 2035 in leading markets. At the World Leaders Summit, 30 countries agreed to make zero-emission vehicles the new normal by 2030 as part of the new Glasgow Breakthroughs. This included making them more accessible, affordable, and sustainable.

UK’s electric vehicle charge point concept

The UK government has revealed its new design for electric vehicle charge points. A design that could become iconic in years to come much like the Great British red post box or the London black cab. The aim was to design something inclusive and easy to use much like the traditional petrol pump. The concept also aims to increase excitement and awareness surrounding electric vehicles as the UK starts to build one of the most affordable and reliable charging networks across the globe. Currently, zero-emission vehicles are less expensive to run in the UK than petrol or diesel vehicles. In addition, it is expected that they will become less expensive to purchase in years to come as zero-emissions vehicles become more popular.

Transport Partner Paul Wormald commented:

The ability for goods and people to travel quickly and conveniently is key to an efficient economic system, however, this needs to be combined with a focus on sustainability and how our modes of transport, and transport infrastructure impact on the wider environment. The recent COP26 summit gave an opportunity for world leaders to set a framework as to how this may be achieved.

The commitment to phasing out conventionally fuelled motor transport will present a wide range of opportunities and challenges for many businesses across the whole economic spectrum, and it will be interesting to observe how these play out on a practical level over the coming years.

How can we help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of transport and logistics accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton. We act for a large number of clients in this sector across our three offices, ranging from hauliers to international couriers, and understand the challenges this dynamic sector faces.
With our experience in the transport and logistics sector we are able to develop a close understanding of your business and, through active year round involvement, we can help you anticipate and deal with challenges quickly and effectively.

More from our transport and logistics experts

You can find all of our latest transport and logistics sector news and newsletters here.

If you are looking for advice in a particular area, please get in touch with your usual Hawsons contact.

Alternatively, we offer all new clients a free initial meeting to have a discussion about their own personal circumstances – find out more or book your free initial meeting here. We have offices in Sheffield, Doncaster and Northampton.

Free initial meeting

Paul Wormald

Partner, Doncaster

01302 367 262

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Government plans to create additional 50,000 lorry tests

Government plans to create additional 50,000 lorry tests

On 10th September the government announced plans of how they will create an additional 50,000 lorry tests to tackle the current HGV driver shortage. The government plan to make changes to tests that will come into force as soon as possible. Industry leaders supported the proposed changes in a public consultation over the summer. It is claimed that the proposed changes will not affect the standard of driving required to pass HGV tests.

 

Proposed changes

Under the government’s new proposals learner lorry drivers will be able to take the articulated lorry test without having to pass the rigid lorry test first. This change will free up test space for those looking to drive rigid lorries only.

Learner bus and coach drivers will be able to go straight for a bus and coach test with a trailer without needing to pass the test without a trailer first.

These changes will have zero effect on the standard of tests and if legal processes are completed successfully, the government anticipate that the regulations will be changed as soon as possible.

 

What should I do if I have a rigid lorry test booked?

If you have drivers who have already booked their rigid lorry test, the government recommend you communicate to your drivers and come to a decision about their upcoming test. It might be beneficial for some to wait for the legislation to change as you will be required to take fewer tests to drive an articulated lorry and a bus or coach test with a trailer.

 

Hawsons Transport and Logistics partner Paul Wormald comments:

The economy as a whole is experiencing acute supply-side challenges with delays in the supply of a wide range of goods. The current shortage of competent qualified HGV drivers is contributing to this, and putting upward pressure on the wages that drivers can demand. This in turn is likely to have knock-on effects on the rate of inflation generally.

It is clear that the government needed to do something to address the current situation and hopefully, these measures will go some way to increase the supply of drivers into the market. However, further steps still need to be taken to help promote lorry driving as an attractive occupation for the younger generation to avoid more chronic shortages in future years.

 

How can we help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of transport and logistics accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton. We act for a large number of clients in this sector across our three offices, ranging from hauliers to international couriers, and understand the challenges this dynamic sector faces.

Nearly every other commercial sector is reliant on the services transport and logistic businesses provide and, in many ways, this specialist sector is the linchpin for our country’s economy.

With our experience in the transport and logistics sector we are able to develop a close understanding of your business and, through active year round involvement, we can help you anticipate and deal with challenges quickly and effectively.

Free initial meeting

Paul Wormald

Partner, Doncaster

01302 367 262

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Department for Transport open letter to UK Logistics Sector

Department for Transport open letter to UK Logistics Sector

The Department for Transport has issued an open letter to the UK Logistics Sector regarding the current HGV driver shortage. The letter outlines the government’s plans on how they will help tackle the problem.

The first measure referenced in the letter is regarding the backlog of HGV driver tests that is preventing new HGV drivers from coming into the job. The Department for Transport recognises that increasing testing capacity is key to providing additional drivers. They say that the DVLA is developing solutions to increase testing capacity and are now passing 1,500 tests per week compared to 1,150 pre COVID. This has been achieved by increasing staff numbers and using overtime.

Further measures include increasing testing capacity which will involve consulting about the delegation of off-road manoeuvres in the Heavy Goods Vehicle driving test. It is also being considered whether or not to issue provisional license entitlements for articulated lorries at the same time as rigid lorries. This would allow those wanting to take the articulated lorry test to be able to skip the rigid lorry practical test which would free up more capacity for the rigid lorry practical test.

The second measure discussed in this open letter is the cost of training to become a Heavy Goods Vehicle driver. The Department for Transport is currently reviewing proposals for financial support created by industry sources to help improve driver recruitment. There will also be a revised Large Goods Vehicle Driver apprenticeship which will be available from 2nd August 2021. The revised apprenticeship will include an increased funding band of £7,000.

Finally, the Department for Transport has confirmed that they will continue working with the industry to create advertising content that will promote and encourage more people into the haulage industry.

If you would like to find out more you can find the full letter from the Department for Transport here

 

How can we help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of transport and logistics accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton. We act for a large number of clients in this sector across our three offices, ranging from hauliers to international couriers, and understand the challenges this dynamic sector faces.

Nearly every other commercial sector is reliant on the services transport and logistic businesses provide and, in many ways, this specialist sector is the linchpin for our country’s economy.

With our experience in the transport and logistics sector we are able to develop a close understanding of your business and, through active year-round involvement, we can help you anticipate and deal with challenges quickly and effectively.

Free initial meeting

Paul Wormald

Partner, Doncaster

01302 367 262

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Why is there an HGV driver shortage?

Why is there an HGV driver shortage?

What has caused a driver shortage?

There are many factors that have contributed to the shortage of HGV drivers. The global pandemic has certainly been a major issue as many European drivers decided to return home, with haulage companies reporting that only a fraction of these has chosen to return.

In addition, Brexit also caused European drivers to return to their home countries. When the UK was part of the EU, European drivers were able to come and go whenever they wanted, but additional border bureaucracy has caused too much hassle for them to do this.

Moreover, the pandemic created a huge backlog of HGV driver tests making it almost impossible to get new drivers up and running.

In summary, the driver shortage has been caused by a high number of European drivers leaving the country either to do with Brexit or Covid and the backlog of HGV driver tests delaying new drivers from being able to work.

 

What issues are driver shortages causing?

HGV driver shortages threaten to leave gaps on supermarket shelves as industry experts warn that the UK is looking at a summer of food shortages with the country being short of around 100,000 HGV drivers.

Retail representatives have expressed concerns that the reporting of potential driver shortages would lead to customers’ panic buying/stockpiling similar to what we saw at the beginning of the first COVID-19 lockdown in the spring of 2020. Furthermore, some fear that the problem will only get worse when hospitality businesses are able to reopen without restrictions on 19th July as they will be looking to increase their supplies.

 

How is the problem being tackled?

The government has recently announced that they will relax working hours until 8 August in order to ease pressure on the current driver shortage. This means that drivers will be legally allowed to work slightly more hours. However, this news has come with a lot of backlash from the industry, as many believe asking drivers that are already overworked to work more hours will lead to more accidents due to exhaustion. Kate Lester Chief Executive of Diamond Logistics believes that the government needs to do more to remove the bottleneck of HGV tests and offer grants for future drivers for their HGV training. She believes that recruiting and retaining new drivers is a more sustainable solution than asking current drivers to work more hours.

Transport minister Baroness Vere responded to the criticism by saying the government is doing all it can to ease the driver recruitment problem and needed the industry to work in partnership with them. She went to say that the suspension of the HGV levy on 1 August 2020 would save a haulage firm with 3,000 trucks £2.5m. This would be enough money to train 800 new drivers and she urges the industry to do so.

The RHA claim that her comments were too ‘simplistic’ and the industry needed the money that they saved to upgrade their fleets to comply with new policies like the Direct Vision Standard and clean air zones.

 

Transport and logistics partner at Hawsons, Paul Wormald, commented:

The Nation’s lorry drivers are an often-neglected element of the UK’s workforce, often having to work long, unsociable hours in less-than-ideal working conditions. However, the simple fact is that they are indispensable to the UK economy and a prolonged shortage of drivers will impact virtually everyone in some way, shape, or form.

Pure economics dictate that if there is a scarcity of properly trained drivers, then hauliers are likely to face increasing wage costs to attract the drivers they need. This in turn will filter its way to end-users in increased prices.

The latest temporary relaxation of driver’s hours smacks somewhat of a sticking plaster to cover a gaping wound, and further investment in measures to attract, train, and retain new drivers is required to keep goods moving around the UK. Asking already overworked drivers to put in more hours, with the attendant impact on road safety is far from a long-term solution.

 

How can we help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of transport and logistics accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton. We act for a large number of clients in this sector across our three offices, ranging from hauliers to international couriers, and understand the challenges this dynamic sector faces.

Nearly every other commercial sector is reliant on the services transport and logistic businesses provide and, in many ways, this specialist sector is the linchpin for our country’s economy.

With our experience in the transport and logistics sector we are able to develop a close understanding of your business and, through active year-round involvement, we can help you anticipate and deal with challenges quickly and effectively.

Free initial meeting

Paul Wormald, Partner

Paul Wormald

Partner, Doncaster

01302 367 262

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The government announce plans to restructure network rail

The government announce plans to restructure network rail

The government has recently announced plans that a new state-owned body called Great British Railways is proposed to replace Network Rail in what is being called the biggest shakeup in the rail sector for almost 25 years.

Under the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, from 2023, Great British Railways would oversee all train operations in England including ticket prices, infrastructure spending, and timetables.

The reform means that private companies would still be allowed to run services, but they would be working under a more prescriptive management contract. Great British Railways would pay train operators to run regional or intercity operations to a timetable and structure created by the new body. This system would free operators from looking to achieve financial targets under the current franchise system.

The ultimate aim of this reform is to reduce the number of barriers that new bidders face in the current franchise system where 66% of contracts are being awarded to operators without any competition. Therefore, train operators are struggling to meet their financial targets resulting in government intervention.

The government has said that this reform will make the rail system more unified and will increase the quality and consistency of our rail services.

 

What changes can we expect to see?

  • More pay as you go journeys
  • Greater investment in online and mobile tickets
  • New simplified fares system
  • Flexible season tickets
  • Increased space for bicycles
  • Simplified compensation scheme

 

Paul Wormald, Transport and Logistics Partner comments:

 

 

Even before the recent and ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the current structure of the country’s railways was being questioned, with major franchises covering the East Coast Main Line and service across the North of England ending up back in the government’s hands. The need for reform has only been amplified since with passenger numbers falling sharply in 2020.

Whether the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail is the ultimate answer remains to be seen and no doubt there will be more twists and turns to come in the next two years.

Businesses in the rail supply chain need to keep an eye on developments  and how this may affect their strategies for the coming years.

If you would like to find out further details about the new reform please read the governments white paper here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987752/gbr-williams-shapps-plan-for-rail.pdf

 

How can we help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of transport and logistics accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton. With our experience in the transport and logistics sector we are able to develop a close understanding of your business and, through active year-round involvement, we can help you anticipate and deal with challenges quickly and effectively.

Free initial meeting

Paul Wormald, Partner

Paul Wormald

Partner, Doncaster

01302 367 262

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Budget 2021 The Chancellor Rishi Sunak presented his third Budget on 27 October 2021. In his speech he set out the plans to "build back better" with ambitions to level up and reduce regional inequality. Main Budget proposals Tax measures include: a new temporary...