Spring 2021 17 THEFT AND FRAUD HAE participates in regular updates with the Hire Fraud and Security Forum. The Forum membership consists of specialist risk managers from hire businesses. From these updates it is clear that fraudulent hire attempts are stubbornly high and the current dependencies on online and telephone transactions has provided an opportunity for some criminals to try and steal equipment using fake documentation, businesses, payment methods and telephone and address details. HAE is updating our guidance for members which will be in the member section of the HAE website and the Forum has helped to shape these. Members are advised to review their internal systems, particularly for new customers and to be aware of suspicious activity. Meanwhile, the new national unit for preventing construction and agricultural equipment and plant theft is taking shape. It is several years since the demise of the former PANIU unit, with whom HAE worked closely to share intelligence and advice. The new ‘ACE’ Unit will start work in the summer and HAE will share details when available. The team will be part of Operation Opal, which is the national policing e ort focused on tackling serious acquisitive organised crime. HAE is working with a backbench MP seeking to legislate to require serial numbers and other identi ers to be registered for tools going to auction. Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham, has taken up an interest in this topic after a spate of incidents in his constituency, particularly a ecting small businesses. HAE has encouraged Mr Smith to extend the remit of his BIll to include smaller items of plant and equipment and the Association will be brie ng him further. The BIll stands very little chance of making progress, but will highlight tool theft and might be incorporated into future government legislation. RED DIESEL The March Budget con rmed the removal of red diesel for construction use from April 2022. This was not mentioned in the Chancellor’s speech, but in a document issued responding to consultation held in September last year. HAE is concerned about the lack of a cross-departmental approach to supporting our sector during the time left until next April. Several of the measures announced in the Budget, such as the super- deduction and enhanced capital allowances do not apply to purchases for the purpose of leasing, despite o cials initially suggesting that HAE members could make use of this extra support. HAE continues to press the Treasury, BEIS and HMRC for clear incentives and guidance to help companies make the transition from red diesel and the management of existing red diesel stocks. NET ZERO The changes to red diesel and emissions performance work being conducted by DEFRA are two examples of how environmental policy is impacting on hire businesses. HAE expects further measures to be enacted over time, particularly with COP26 being held later this year. There is also signi cant interest in sustainability matters in public and corporate procurement and by investors. HAE EHA is establishing a NetZero Group to help members to navigate these changes, but also to highlight innovation within the sector. The hire sector is a strong exponent of the circular economy by promoting the safe reuse of equipment and by prolonging the life of inventory due to regular expert maintenance and advice to users on e cient and safe usage. BARBOUR ABI Barbour ABI, which includes AMA, provides quarterly construction market reports for HAE which are published for members. HAE is discussing how these reports could be strengthened and we would welcome feedback from members on what might be done to enhance their usefulness. Please contact Mark Bradshaw. <<

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