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Less than a week after the UK’s road user levy went into effect, France has officially decided to rethink a punitive HGV tax first put into play in 2009. French officials say the tax is still necessary, but it needs to be rewritten in order to make it ‘fair’.

We refer to the French text as punitive because, in the words of the French government, it was intended primarily to reduce the total amount of goods transported by truck in that country. In 2009, the government wanted to encourage freight haulers to consider more environmentally friendly ways of moving goods across the country. What they failed to realise is that no such methods exist that would enable freight haulers to keep the pace they enjoy today.

As originally written, the tax would impose a fee based on the total volume of freight moved. Companies that moved more freight would obviously pay more. The money raised would be earmarked for road repair and various green initiatives within France. However, the tax never went into effect.

From its onset, the tax was wildly unpopular among both the haulage industry and consumers alike. Protests immediately caused the French government to put the tax on hold while they revisited the subject. It was eventually rescheduled to take effect in 2011, yet the new date was also put on hold indefinitely. Now the French government is considering abandoning it altogether. We hope they do.

Hampering Haulage Industry Foolish

There is a very good reason the HGV Training Centre remains in business year after year: the haulage and transport industries are constantly in need of drivers. And why is that? Because without the haulage industry, it would be prohibitively expensive to move freight across Europe.

Just think about it for one moment. While rail systems are plentiful in Europe, they do not go to every town and village on the continent. The same can be said for air and water transit. The only vehicles capable of getting cargo to every town and village are those that utilise public roadways. That leaves HGVs, LGVs, vans and other commercial vehicles. There is no way around it.

What’s more, the HGV is the most logical choice because it gives maximum payload potential without being inherently unsafe. To hamper the haulage industry with a punitive tax designed to discourage HGV transport is foolishness. It is to stifle the economy and destroy any hope of economic growth.

We sincerely hope that the French government abandons their punitive HGV tax altogether. Certainly, there are other ways they can fund road repair and green initiatives. If not, any new road use tax should be applied across the board, to every vehicle on the road.

In the meantime, the HGV Training Centre will continue to offer our students commercial driver training for every class of commercial vehicle. We are proud to be the UK’s leading name in commercial driver services, working with individual drivers and companies alike. Ring us for more information.

Sources:

Tax-News – https://www.tax-news.com/news/France_To_Review_Punitive_HGV_Tax____64293.html

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