The year has seen various opportunities to engage with parliamentarians and officials about challenges faced by the hire sector.
HAE EHA's key messages remain the same; that the sector enables much activity in the UK economy, whether housebuilding, infrastructure, private and public development and national resilience. Plant, tools and event equipment hire is a multi-billion pound industry, creating jobs and investment in manufacturing and services.
The association also continues to work with a range of industry partners and other trade bodies in advancing the case for hire and the impact the sector is having.
The hire sector is being disadvantaged by exclusion from the Full Expensing (FE) of capital investment; FE became a permanent allowance in the Autumn Statement.
While no decision has been taken to rectify the situation and allow hire sector businesses to make use of FE, there is a commitment to continue discussions with industry and to hold a technical consultation. Details were included in a recent edition of Interface This Week.
HAE EHA is in touch with HM Treasury officials about restarting the Leasing Working Group (activity was suspended before the Autumn Statement).
We continue to press the case for modernising capital allowances, as the current arrangements are out of step with how construction operates and fail to reflect the circular nature of the hire business model.
Association members will be asked for information about their capital investment commitments and how a change to FE could unlock further investment, particularly in cleaner and greener equipment. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) can also help by providing input on how a change to FE can stimulate demand and innovation.
Hire businesses continue to endure very high levels of theft and fraud and HAE EHA has been in dialogue with police and industry partners about adopting a more targeted approach.
HAE EHA will be reviewing how it shares incident and risk alert information, in conjunction with the Hire Forum (security and risk managers from the major hire businesses), with the aim to issue warnings and announcements in a more timely and efficient manner.
The association has also made a commitment to help fund the National Construction and Agricultural Theft Team (NCATT) over three years starting next April. NCATT has made great strides in recovering stolen equipment, disrupting some fraudulent activity, and supporting local police forces across the UK and internationally. More updates on the work of NCATT will be issued in the New Year.
Your association will pull together sector expertise on the circular economy and green innovation in a group to help guide our work on these topics.
Meanwhile, HAE EHA is participating in the European Rental Association (ERA) project on Carbon Reporting. This will have global importance in establishing hire sector guidance on this topic, essential to investors and in procurement qualification.
With a General Election to be held sometime in 2024 or early 2025, the hire sector needs to be ready with what it would ask and expect of a new or returned government.
To guide this work, HAE EHA will be devising a Manifesto for all the parties to consider. This will involve capturing sector insight as well as key facts about the hire industry and its contribution to national and local economies.
It is always helpful to know if members have engaged with local MPs, ministers or others, so those with a particular interest in hire matters can be identified.