For the benefit of members of the House, I am today (23 October 2012) setting out some details of the HGV Road User Levy Bill which will be debated in the House of Commons on Tuesday 23 October. The bill itself will be walked in after the debate on the ‘Ways and means resolution’.
The HGV Road User Levy Bill with introduce charges for all HGVs that weigh 12 tonnes and over for using the UK road network.
The government realises the importance of haulage services provided by both UK-registered and foreign-registered vehicles to our economy, ensuring that goods are brought in and efficiently moved around the country. The key aim of this bill is to ensure a fairer arrangement for UK-hauliers to help improve their competitiveness.
The legislation being introduced fulfils a commitment in the coalition agreement and is designed to remove an inequality, whereby UK hauliers pay to use many roads abroad, but foreign-hauliers do not pay to use roads in the UK. The levy is designed to be cost neutral for UK hauliers, through offsetting reductions in vehicle excise duty (VED) payments. Changes to VED will be included in the Finance Bill 2014.
The levy will be time based and will vary according to the vehicle type, weight and number of axles. This seeks to ensure that the charging scale is linked to the amount of damage a HGV causes to a road. The levy will be a maximum of £1,000 per year or £10 per day for the largest vehicles.
UK-registered HGVs will pay the levy for either a 6 monthly or annual period. Foreign-registered vehicles can pay the levy either daily, weekly, monthly or annually. Rebates will be available under certain circumstances. Revenues will be paid into the consolidated fund.
The bill makes it an offence to fail to pay the levy and, on summary conviction, a fine of up to level 5 on the standard scale (currently £5,000) will be payable. The bill also provides for the offence to be subject to a fixed penalty and it allows the Secretary of State for Transport to refuse to issue a vehicle licence if he is not satisfied that the appropriate levy has been paid.
The scheme will be administered by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) or the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland. A private company will be contracted by the Department for Transport to administer the payment scheme for foreign-registered HGVs. The contractor will be required to maintain an electronic database of foreign-registered HGVs for which a levy has been paid. UK enforcement agencies will have access to the database.
The scheme will be enforced by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) in Great Britain and the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland. These agencies currently enforce UK and foreign hauliers’ compliance with regulations on vehicle roadworthiness, drivers’ hours and other road safety regulations. The police also have enforcement powers.
The Department for Transport conducted a consultation exercise in early 2012, and the findings of this are also being published today, and will be available on the Department for Transport’s website.