Stop slapping fines on innocent lorry drivers

Published Aug 06, 2015

38qr96Hi_(1).jpegThe UK Government is being urged to scrap the fines which have been imposed on innocent lorry drivers who are unwittingly bringing illegal immigrants into the UK.

UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour has called for penalties to be abandoned until Britain ‘gets its house in order’ to tighten up security breaches at the Channel Tunnel.

And she said the current legislation needed permanently amending to ensure that, going forward, it was only targeting people-smugglers and not snaring innocent truck drivers.

Mrs Seymour was speaking after figures revealed haulage firms and lorry drivers had been fined more than £4 million after migrants were found in their vehicles.

The number of fines has increased by 50% on last year, and more than 3,300 fines have been issued by UK Border Force staff in 2014-15.

“Our UK haulage industry has already suffered significant financial losses and this stress, coupled with the danger and pressure the drivers face trying to get through Calais, could have incredibly serious consequences,” said Mrs Seymour.

“On top of such difficulties, for the Government to then have the audacity to fine hauliers for its own incompetence at the UK border is a disgrace.

“Mr Cameron needs to support the UK haulage industry, and not look for every way possible to kill it off.”

Mrs Seymour, a West Midlands UKIP MEP, called for the legislation to be scrapped and for an amnesty to be launched on the money owed.

Hauliers have also criticised the fines, saying the system is “unfair” as they can be fined as much as £2,000 per migrant, with the charge being levied against both drivers and their employers.

But the Home Office said many lorries did not have “basic standards of security” and that only 7% of the penalties imposed were issued to British drivers.

Mrs Seymour said: “So what’s it to be, Mr Cameron? Do you want to see every UK truck park up and leave the roads in protest?

“It’s time to stop pushing people to take such a drastic course of action – it’s time to support the UK haulage industry and stop the fines.”

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