Wednesday 27 October 2021
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Fuel Supply: Fees for Military Drivers
The Secretary of State will be using powers under the Energy Act 2013 to increase the hourly rate for use of military drivers paid by hauliers in an ESCALIN deployment.
In response to the disruption to the availability of fuel in late September, the Government deployed Operation ESCALIN, on the 27 September. ESCALIN is a long-standing fuel supply contingency measure jointly managed by my Department and the Ministry of Defence to make trained military drivers available to support fuel deliveries. A total of 222 drivers were deployed to civilian haulage companies that participate in the scheme.
It has always been the intention that the hauliers who make use of Operation ESCALIN should be required to make a contribution to the costs that is in line with the costs of employing civilian drivers, although this is below the full cost to the taxpayer of the deployment. The current charge to hauliers for the use of a military driver in an ESCALIN deployment is set at £25 per hour, per driver. This price was set in 2013 and has remained unchanged since. During this nine-year period the cost of labour has increased and I would like the price to reflect this change.
A direction under section 148(3)(b) of the Energy Act 2013 was made to increase the hourly price from £25 to £28.51. This will take effect on 28 October. I believe this direction is fair and proportionate as it will now take account of inflationary price increases from 2013 calculated using the consumer price inflation index. However, the Secretary of State reserves the right to make further changes to the charging regime if that becomes necessary.
My Department will work with hauliers to ensure that use of military personnel is continued for only as long as absolutely necessary. The Secretary of State reserves the right to withdraw military support once we are confident that the fuel supply system as a whole is adequate to meet normal demand, irrespective of the position of individual companies.
Charter for Budget Responsibility
Today I have published a draft updated “Charter for Budget Responsibility”, a copy of which has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies are also available in the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office. The draft sets out the new fiscal framework announced at autumn Budget and spending review 2021.
The draft charter includes modified guidance to the Office for Budget Responsibility and has been published in line with section 6(4) of the Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act. This requires that if the Treasury proposes to modify the guidance to the Office for Budget Responsibility included in the charter, a draft of the modified guidance must be published at least 28 days before the modified charter is laid before Parliament. The updated charter will be laid before Parliament, and a debate and vote scheduled, in due course.