UK faces potential legal battle over ‘preferential’ HGV levy

The UK Government faces potential legal action over a HGV levy which the European Commission has claimed ‘breaches EU laws around equal treatment’.

The so-called ‘lorry tax’, an initiative designed to help British hauliers compete with EU rivals, came under fire in a leaked letter from Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief of staff this week.

The letter threatens legal action against the British Government on grounds of infringement of European equality laws.

The levy under fire, which was first unveiled in 2014, is designed to compensate for the tolls and taxes UK hauliers pay when travelling overseas that have no comparable equivalent for foreign drivers on British roads.

The Government initially argued that this made it increasingly expensive for British hauliers to do trade in the EU, whilst rivals continued to compete cheaply in Britain.

The policy imposes a charge of £10 per day upon all HGVs using British roads – a charge which is then deducted from vehicle excise duty for UK-registered vehicles.

The Department for Transport claims that the charge “ensures British hauliers are better able to compete with their foreign counterparts.”

But Jean-Claude Juncker & Co seem to think very differently, and the British Government could end up before the European Court of Justice in coming weeks in a legal battle over Britain’s right to give native hauliers so-called ‘preferential treatment’.

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