Hauliers plot tax avoidance
British road haulage companies are threatening to follow the shipping industry and hoist flags of convenience over their lorries to avoid 'penal' road taxes.
The threatened exodus is headed by Carlisle-based Eddie Stobart, so-called ‘truck king’, who runs a fleet of 800 lorries with a renowned 20,000-member fan club.
The hauliers are warning that they would re-locate their businesses outside Britain and register in continental countries where road taxes are lower.
The government is reviewing vehicle excise duty rates in a drive to penalise companies that cause the most environmental damage.
The Road Haulage Association claims that ‘thousands’ of its members are preparing to ‘flag out’ after receiving legal advice, which argues that re-registering on the continent would be possible under European Union law.
According to this advice, hauliers would have to set up some form of operating centre in the continental country and make sure that their vehicles visit that ‘country of origin’ up to six times a year.