30th September 2009
On Wednesday (30th September) the Conservative Party and our new European allies achieved our first big success in stopping unwanted red tape from further damaging British Businesses across the country and here in the South West.
We were successful in stopping a move by left wing MEPs to end our opt-out, under the European Working Time Directive, for self-employed drivers.
They proposed an amendment to abolish the opt-out. I am happy to say that the amendment was defeated in Committee, after a tense re-count, by just one vote: 25 to 24. Conservative votes ensured our opt out was preserved.
The haulage industry and the Federation of Small Business agreed that had the proposed extension of the Working Time Directive gone through then it would have added a whole new layer of bureaucracy, increased costs and reduced flexibility & competitiveness, without making any difference to safety - the main excuse for the proposed extension of the Directive.
While the proposal could still come back at a later stage, the decision represents a major victory for common sense.
This bodes well for our new European Grouping. We can make a real difference in protecting British businesses and workers. Without our votes, the left would have won, and the British haulage industry would have lost.
Ashley Fox MEP
South West of England & Gibraltar