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Minister warns hauliers to ‘think carefully about an independent Scotland’

  • 24 May 2014
  • By Christopher Walton

A trade and currency barrier between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK could have a devastating and unneeded effect on the road transport industry, according to chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

Speaking at the Road Haulage Association (RHA) annual lunch, Alexander said: “You probably wouldn’t have to drive through international check points every time you entered an independent Scotland, but even without a barrier, the prospect of a trade barrier, or a currency barrier, could have a devastating and unneeded effect on your industry.

“Between now and September I want you to think carefully – and most importantly, I want you to shout loudly – in the referendum debate.

“And make the case for the most successful political, economic and fiscal union that has ever existed.”

Alexander also used the meeting of RHA members to reveal that he would be holding further talks with FairFuelUK to discuss the effect a cut in fuel duty would have on the wider economy. “Just because fuel duty has been frozen, it doesn’t mean that our relationship will. We want to maintain a high level of dialogue with you and we want to keep working to support the work that you do.”

RHA national chairman Peter Barber concurred. “Our task is to ensure this new way of thinking is cemented into the fabric of Westminster in general and the Treasury in particular,” he said.

Alexander also singled out the work outgoing RHA chief executive Geoff Dunning (see below) did in making the government aware of the vital role logistics plays in the economy. He also asked hauliers to report to the government bottlenecks and problem areas in the road network, ahead of a multi-billion pound investment in UK motorways and major A-roads.

He then urged the industry to make improvements in cutting carbon emissions: “I know costs and technical challenges mean that electricity may be unable to replace diesel for large HGVs anytime in the foreseeable future, but that makes measures to further improve and exploit fuel efficiency all the more important.”


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