It’s not cabotage – it’s sabotage! We must protect our hauliers

UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour is calling for urgent Government action to protect British hauliers against the growing menace of ‘cabotage’ from foreign drivers.

Cabotage rules permit hauliers from any EU country to carry out limited jobs in other member states – but Mrs Seymour said the situation in the UK was spiralling out of control.

“They call it cabotage, but as far as I can see, it would be more accurately described as sabotage,” she said.

Her comments come after a BBC investigation revealed that many lorry drivers operating on UK roads were being paid less than £3 an hour by eastern European employers, and living out of their cabs.

“Our UK haulage industry is already struggling to breathe under a mountain of regulation and bureaucracy – much of it driven by needless EU legislation.

“I sympathise with overseas drivers who are merely trying to earn an honest living, but their companies are undercutting the UK haulage industry.

“And it is the interests of UK hauliers which should always come first.”

Mrs Seymour added: “Under cabotage rules, overseas companies can carry out a limited number of properly audited jobs in another EU member state.

“But the word ‘limited’ is being stretched way beyond what the rules were clearly designed to permit.

“Overseas drivers are being put under immense pressure to work way beyond acceptable levels, and it’s time the Government got to grips with the situation.

“It’s not fair, it’s not safe, and it’s effectively forcing our own HGV and LGV companies to do an already difficult job with one hand tied behind their back.”

She added: “It is time for the British government to stand up for our hauliers, and have a complete rethink on cabotage permits.

“If overseas companies are employing people to transport goods around the UK, then they should be paying Britain for the privilege.

“They should also be forced to prove that they comply with the same health and safety standards as our own drivers operate under.”