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OTC Announces New Levels for Operators

Operating trucks larger than 3.5t? Then you, my friend, need to demonstrate you have enough money in the bank to ensure your vehicles are safe to use.

This month, the Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OTC) announced what “enough” is defined as in 2018.

For the moment at least, the UK adopts a financial standing rate set by the EU.

However, the drop in the value of our currency, due to everyone having no idea what a post-Brexit world will look like, means that one pound just about buys you one Euro. Plus a white chocolate mouse.

As a result, the new financial standing rates differ only slightly from 2017.

Standard national and international licence applicants will be required to demonstrate £7,950 (previously £7,850) for the first vehicle and £4,400 (previously £4,350) for each additional vehicle they request to be authorised.

Operators making variation applications will be required to demonstrate financial standing for their existing fleet and any additional authorisation against the new levels.

If you are due to appear before a TC at a PI after 1 January 2018 where additional evidence of financial standing is requested, then you must be able to satisfy these new levels.

Restricted Licence Holders

The OTC says there is no change to the rates of finance which must be available to support a restricted licence or application: £3,100 for the first vehicle and £1,700 for each additional authorised vehicle.

Looking ahead, there are calls for us to set our own rate of financial standing when we leave the EU.

The FTA points out that between 2012 and 2016, the figure required fluctuated by almost £2,000 for the first vehicle, simply because of the exchange rate for euros.

This call for control over setting the levels sounds fair enough, as does a review of why own-account operators enjoy significantly lower rates compared to third party hauliers.

The rates of finance to support these restricted licence holders, or for applications, have remained conspicuously static for some years now.

As the FTA’s head of licensing policy, James Firth, says: “What are the greater financial risks to the hire and reward sector that the government perceives justify continued rates so substantially elevated above those in the own account sector – which, of course, takes in almost every type of industry and sector across the UK economy?”