Select Committee on Trade and Industry Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 136 - 139)




  136. Good morning. Perhaps, Mr King, you could introduce your colleagues and then we shall begin.
  (Mr King) I am Roger King, Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association. On my right is Mrs Karen Leeming, who is a Policy Adviser to the RHA. On my left is Professor Douglas McWilliams who is Chief Executive of the Centre for Economic and Business Research Limited.

  137. Could we start off by clearing some of the confusion, certainly in my mind? What is the difference between the RHA and the Freight Transport Association (FTA)? Do you have different purposes? Do you have different membership? If you could clarify that, it might take away some of the confusion.
  (Mr King) I am sure we have the same aims and objectives for a productive and efficient haulage industry; in fact I know we do. We tend to represent the hire and reward side. Those are people who are primarily in the business of road haulage for and on behalf of customers and as such they do not tend to be part of a bigger business like the supermarket operation or oil company operation. I think I would be correct in saying—and I am oversimplifying perhaps, but for the benefit of the Committee it probably indicates the difference—that the Freight Transport Association represents businesses which have part of their operation as a transport undertaking.

  138. You will have members who drive vehicles which bear the livery of a company by whom they are rewarded or hired.
  (Mr King) Yes, that would be correct. We have some very big operators. There is obviously a blurring in the areas of representation but if you said that we were hire and reward and the FTA were more orientated towards company owned fleet operation then you would probably have a fair idea.

  139. That clears up at least one of the small problems we might have. You realise that we are not primarily here to recommend to Government changes in tax structures. We all have our private views on that which will probably intrude upon the discussion this morning. The purpose of our inquiry is primarily to try to get a picture of what the impact of the fuel duty increases has been on UK PLC. As one of the partners in UK PLC we are interested in what has happened both to your industry and to the people whom your industry serves because we realise there is a dependence there. It is suggested that somewhere around 35 per cent of your costs can be accounted for by fuel. On average what percentage of hauliers' costs are accounted for by fuel costs? Is it 35 per cent or is that a kind of ballpark figure? Could you be more specific?
  (Mr King) May I defer to Professor McWilliams who has done some updating of figures on that?
  (Professor McWilliams) When we did our last set of calculations, and we were looking at the entire road haulage industry and taking the average for that, the figures for last year worked out at just over 27 per cent. We have done a fairly casual updating to take account of the changes in fuel costs since then and we estimate that just over 30 per cent is the average. It obviously varies with the type of haulier and with the distance you travel; probably typically between 25 and 30 per cent.

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