A Wiltshire haulage firm has had its licence revoked after an investigation found the vast majority of its drivers were employed through a limited company.

The decision to remove the operator licence held by Quick Road Transport by the traffic commissioner Kevin Rooney followed a warning by the senior TC that employment arrangements by hauliers would continue to be scrutinised.

According to Rooney, a DVSA investigation into the firm, which ran 15 HGVs out of two operating centres in Cricklade and Swindon, found that all bar one of its drivers had set up a limited company through which they were employed by the haulier.

Following a Bristol public inquiry, the TC said the drivers were known as “Ltd drivers” and explained:

“The driver is the servant of their own limited company. It is their limited company that pays them and gives them their directions.

“The arrangement with Quick Road Transport was that it was contracted to work for a customer such as Amazon or any other. It then sub-contracted that work to a number of limited companies. Those limited companies then employed the driver.”

This arrangement has been criticised by HMRC and the TCs for giving operators an unfair commercial advantage, as they avoid paying national insurance and pension contributions.

It can also enable professional drivers to avoid their own tax liabilities.

In a separate case last November, the senior TC Richard Turfitt took action against Enero Logistics after finding that it was now paying drivers through an agency arrangement after previously being ordered to stop paying them through their own limited companies.

Turfitt curtailed the licence and said: “I must take deterrent action to make clear to this operator and others who might be tempted to adopt a similar device, that this type of behaviour undermines the licensing system as a whole and will not be tolerated.”

In the Quick Road Transport case, TC Rooney also found that the company did not meet financial standing levels for its HGV fleet and that director and transport manager Mariusz Brdak had taken his CPC in Poland, which was not valid in the UK.