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Self-employed drivers face more EU red tape

Wednesday, 16th June 2010

The European Parliament has thrown common sense to the wind and voted to tie up self-employed drivers in additional red tape that will have no clear safety benefits, Roger Helmer MEP said today.

The European Commission, which proposes legislation to MEPs, wanted self-employed drivers excluded from the Working Time Directive. This directive is a large collection of regulations concerning hours of work supposedly with the aim to protect workers’ health and safety.

The Commission had advised MEPs that other existing legislation already covers drivers' hours, and more red tape would be difficult to enforce, and would not add demonstrably to drivers' safety.

Conservatives MEPs acted on their recommendation and have long fought to protect self-employed drivers from extra paperwork. However, today the European Parliament voted to pile these regulations onto self-employed drivers.

Speaking after the vote, East Midlands Conservative MEP Mr Helmer said:

"Self-employed drivers already have strict rules on driving hours already. In the current climate they do not need to be tied up in more red tape.

"We have fought a long, hard campaign to defend the interests of self-employed drivers.

"This directive is extremely difficult to enforce for self-employed drivers. Ultimately, all MEPs have done is to make it harder for honest drivers to compete in an already competitive market."