Our Ref: Date: Contact: Extension:
Corrine Ramm 2576
E-mail: Fax DDI:
Adrian.Jones@unitetheunion.org 020 7611 2555
19 January 2018
Jesse Norman MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport
Department for Transport Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road London
As you know Unite has raised concerns over the way in which HMRC are insisting that drivers provide evidence of their expenditure when spending a night out as part of their employment most recently at the Road Haulage Forum which you attended. I will not revisit the history of the payment but I must, on behalf of our Unite professional driver membership, raise how we believe this is impacting on our industry.
Our driver use the payment from their employers to buy food, drink and the equipment needed to spend a night away from home. Unite has continued to campaign for improved facilities for drivers but the current situation means that drivers are given very little choice of where they can park and what food they can purchase. In many instances there is only the choice between burgers or pasties! The age profile of the industry is well publicised and the majority of drivers in the UK are men over the age of 50. Due to the nature of the job; long hours, poor diet etc. many of our members have health issues including what they can eat and when. On top of this of course is the necessity for drivers of certain religions to observe strict dietary regimens that often cannot be catered for by MSA’s or road side café’s. In this case driver will do their own shopping and plan their meals for when they are away from home.
The HMRC approach to not allowing this expenditure to be included in non-taxable allowances is not only unfair but potentially discriminatory. Unite will continue to campaign for a fairer system and this will include considering legal advice.On this
issue I have had numerous discussions with the FTA and RHA and we have very similar views. The current procedure is over bureaucratic, not cost effective for employers or drivers and disproportionate to the amount of revenue collected by HMRC.
Unite believes that there should be an amount payable by employers within the industry for drivers subsistence when away from home. This is clearly not pay and therefore we believe that the previous system of an agreed amount being able to be received in specific circumstances tax and NI free should be reinstated. The burden of the HMRC audit procedure is costly to employers and difficult to abide to for drivers. Many food outlets on industrial estates where our drivers take their statutory breaks do not provide receipts and saying that a picture of the menu board will suffice simply undermines the system anyway.
The previous minister, John Hayes, was very supportive of the industry view and pledged to pursue this through HMRC. Unfortunately yet again ministerial responsibilities have changed and all momentum has been lost. I would therefore request that a meeting be convened as a matter of urgency of industry representatives to discuss a positive way forward on this very emotive issue.
National Officer, RTC/LRD