A Christmas update

Posted 23/12/2019 : By: Tim Ridyard

Our Ashtons Legal Transport & Regulatory Team extend to you and everyone at your business all our best wishes for Christmas and for 2020.

During the course of the year, we have continued to support our established clients but have been engaged by many new ones across a range of transport, logistics and other sectors. We look forward to continuing this in 2020.

And - on the subject of 2020 - who knows what will happen? Whilst the election result finally gave businesses some kind of confirmation or comfort that the UK would likely leave the EU at the end of January, seemingly removing some uncertainty, the No Deal ‘cliff-edge’ remains then and again at the end of 2020.

It is not controversial to state that no one in the transport, logistics and supply chain sectors wants for their businesses anything other than the smoothest and most frictionless future arrangements. Further, as the Freight Transport Association states: ‘ the risk of a No Deal departure from the EU…..could bring chaos to the UK’s highly interconnected supply chain and the industry which relies upon it….. Most of the crucial topics related to trade and transport have yet to be negotiated with the EU, in what will be a very short amount of time. Entering these negotiations with a clear picture of what logistics needs will be critical to its success.  Minimising frictions, red tape and costs should be at the heart of the negotiations if UK PLC is to continue trading effectively’  

So we hope that there may be no re-run of the Brexit-readiness ’cavalry charges’ that caused great stress to many of your businesses in 2019, particularly by those conducting international operations.

How this plays out in 2020 remains to be seen but we will, of course, keep you up to speed.

In all this, there has been little movement in our road transport legislation over the last couple of years (and Brexit will not result in major changes in many main planks of regulation in the UK in areas such as drivers’ hours, licensing etc) but do expect to see some changes: a blanket ban on all hand-held mobile phone usage, revisions in the scope of Driver CPC and its exemptions, the planned IR35 tax clampdown on those driver-owned company arrangements deemed by HMRC to be tax avoidance and resolving EU citizen settled status for your workforce. Tackling issues such as the driver and other skills shortages, apprenticeships, emissions targets/zones and alternative fuels will continue, as in 2019.

We enjoyed hosting two road transport briefings in Ipswich and Cambridge and plan to repeat this in 2020. We also took part in a series of autumn transport manager conferences as guest speakers of the Freight Transport Association. We were also invited to take part in Government-funded Brexit readiness training events just before the 31st October deadline in conjunction with the music and entertainment technology industries to speak about related transport issues. 

Please do get in touch if you require advice. Our regulatory offering extends far beyond road transport regulatory and licensing matters to cover all types of compliance and enforcement activities such as those of the HSE, Councils, Environment Agency, HMRC, Information Commissioner etc. Our business team, of which we are an integral part, can help with the whole range of commercial issues faced by you including employment and HR, disputes, debt collection and property matters.

2020 may be the year when you want to make changes or embark on new projects - it is always a good idea to talk through changes you may be contemplating to prevent legal bumps and unforeseen problems.

So - all our best wishes for Christmas and 2020.

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