Neil Parish welcomes new road tax on foreign lorries

Neil Parish welcomes a Bill which will bring in a new levy for all heavy goods vehicles including a charge for foreign lorries using British roads.Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton) (Con): I very much welcome the Bill. I understand that the Minister is bound by the vignette-type legislation from Europe, which means that we can charge a maximum of €11 a day, and in the future we must look to increase that significantly. Someone running a heavy goods vehicle from France is helped significantly by the fact that the diesel is 10p to 20p a litre cheaper. A lorry coming over here can have a couple of tanks of diesel on it and deliver goods all over the country using it—so there is still a very big advantage to be had. Moreover, a British lorry using motorways all the way to the south of France will have to pay nearly €1,000 for a return trip at the péages. It is bad enough with a domestic car, let alone the charges for an HGV.This is a good start to making the playing field more level, and I recognise that the shadow Minister was graceful in accepting that it should have been done on Labour’s watch. I am glad that he supports the Bill. I welcome the Bill, but our hauliers have suffered greatly over the years from unfair competition, with lower-priced fuel coming across in the lorries, which then do a lot of business in this country because they can outbid our hauliers. I look forward to seeing this levy rise substantially.I have one final point. Many foreign lorries that come over here seem to have a sat-nav system for domestic cars, and they end up going down some of our rural roads, taking out bridges and walls—even cottages. It is very hard to reverse those huge HGVs when they have gone down a tiny country lane or through a very small village. That also needs to be looked at seriously.| Hansard