The RHA has followed on from its recently launched haulage manifesto and submitted a list of demands to the Treasury to support HGV operators ahead of the Spring Budget.

Chief among the measures is a continuing freeze on fuel duty and to maintain the current 5p cut; a suspension of VED on lorries and the HGV levy and an emissions-linked rebate on fuel duty for alternative fuels.

The business group also wants to see an essential user rebate on fuel duty for commercial operators; a reform of business rates related to warehousing and a reduction in insurance premium tax.

It has also urged the government to increase the funding band available for training providers and colleges offering heavy vehicle mechanic apprenticeships.

A shortage of HGV technicians is seen as a growing problem in the industry, with the government’s skills bootcamps programme now starting to have a positive impact on the driver shortage.

The traffic commissioners voiced their concerns about available mechanics in their annual report, saying that the shortage was now being seen at public inquiries.

The RHA said its key measures came against a backdrop of significant financial pressures on hauliers.

The cost of operating a 44-tonne HGV rose by nearly 10% last year as more than 450 haulage firms went bust amid falling freight volumes.

“We are calling on the government to focus on stability, long-term growth and targeted support to tackle the major challenges the road transport industry currently faces to ease cost pressures on operators,” said Richard Smith, RHA MD.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer will present his Spring Statement on 6 March.