Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Haulage Industry

Photo of Jackie CahillJackie Cahill (Tipperary, Fianna Fail)
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213. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will extend the recently announced Government supports for the haulage sector to unlicensed hauliers, as per the recent Irish Concrete Federation’s letter to him considering that currently only licensed hauliers are eligible for the recently announced Government support measures and the existing diesel rebate scheme; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that notwithstanding the fact that some Irish Concrete Federation members have haulage licences and are eligible for support, unlike the hire for reward hauliers, a licence is not required by own account operators and that the recent increases in fuel are equally borne by both licensed and unlicensed hauliers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17344/22]

Photo of Hildegarde NaughtonHildegarde Naughton (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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All road haulage operations for hire or reward are subject to licensing regulations, and in fact unlicensed haulage is an offence under legislation. Any operator who is exempt from the licensing regulations due to the nature of their work – for example, an own account operator – is, by definition, not a haulier.

On 15 March 2022, the Government approved an emergency support measure – the Licensed Haulage Emergency Support Scheme to address cost pressures arising from current high fuel prices. I can confirm that the scheme is available only to operators holding a road haulage operator licence.

In deciding on this targeted, temporary scheme, the Government considered that the licensed haulage sector is a specific case for several reasons, primarily that the sector is of national strategic importance as a critical enabler of a functioning supply chain, bringing essential supplies into and around the State, supporting key infrastructure and enabling the maintenance of economic and social activity. While this is true for certain other operators also, fuel represents a greater overall proportion of overhead cost for hauliers than would be the case for other businesses who self-provide transport as part of their wider business.

Given the rapid increase in fuel prices linked to the crisis in Ukraine, the haulage sector reported to the Government a serious risk of cessation of business among haulage companies that would have had significant implications for supply chains into the State, including for essential goods.

You will be aware that on 9 March 2022, in recognition of rising fuel costs for all citizens and businesses, the Government reduced Excise duty by 20 cent per litre of petrol, 15 cent per litre of diesel and 2 cent in the excise duty charged on marked gas oil in order to reduce the cost of fuels.

The Minister for Finance has written to the European Commission to ask what flexibilities might be available on an emergency basis to reduce the tax on fuel. Currently, however, the EU Energy Tax Directive limits the possibility of further reducing the tax on fuel. Specifically, the Directive requires a minimum tax of €0.33 per litre and the measures already decided have reduced the tax on diesel to the minimum.

In general, however, it should be noted that the causes of these fuel price pressures are not within the control of Government and are being directly influenced by external factors, including the Ukraine crisis.

The Government has limited resources but through the Excise measure announced on 9 March, as well as the Licensed Haulage Emergency Support Scheme approved on 15 March 2022, it has responded to help to ease the impact of these price increases. However, we must accept that it will not be possible to insulate citizens and businesses from the full impact of these fuel price increases.


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