Thousands of small hauliers are at breaking point and require emergency action to help keep them afloat, including a fuel duty freeze, an essential-user rebate and a 12-month delay to the red diesel rule changes, according to the RHA.

In its submission to the Chancellor ahead of his Spring statement on 23 March, the group said transport firms were operating under severe pressures with huge increases in wage, fuel, and energy costs compounded by an acute shortage of drivers, vehicles, and parts.

It said that if the government was serious about levelling up, then it needed to “get serious”, reduce tax burdens and address ongoing skills shortages.

The RHA said that given the success of the HGV skills bootcamps, funding needed to be maintained as an alternative to apprenticeships and more flexibility offered on the types of training employers can offer using apprenticeship levy funds.

It also called for investment in safe, secure parking and welfare facilities and that all road improvement schemes needed to include lorry facilities and parking provisions baked into them.

The RHA’s submission stated: “Transporting people and goods is a fundamental building block for the economy and society.

“It is the core enabler of all economic activity. The logistics sector delivers in every circumstance including crises because it is flexible, adaptable and operates in a highly competitive market.

“It is essential that we maintain that flexibility, adaptability, and competitiveness.”

RHA MD Richard Smith said: “Such is the resilience of the UKs commercial vehicle sector that many of these challenges are already being actively addressed, but this industry, responsible for moving 95% of the nation’s economy by road, cannot do it on its own.”