Walker & Son Hauliers

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Walker & Son Hauliers's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Walker & Son Hauliers is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Our new 100T Mobile Crane on
site in Nottingham
Richard with his sons, Daniel
and James, and nephew, Jack,
all active in the business
Founded during the Second World War, Walker & Son
Hauliers have been operating for nearly 80 years. Generation
after generation have assumed the mantle of the business,
which has meant considerable accumulation of knowledge and
experience – something they draw upon to this day. The business
was founded by Daniel Edward Walker and today is run by
Daniel’s grandson, Richard Walker, who expands on the journey
the company has taken during its many years ofoperating.
The original haulage business was founded in 1940 by my grandfather, Daniel
Edward Walker, and my father Harold took over the running after he returned from
serving for the Royal Engineers in Burma during World War Two. The business was
then incorporated as Walker & Son Hauliers Ltd in 1954. In 1960, my father took
a brave step by taking a bank loan of £17,250 to purchase the Tuxford Militia site,
with 80,000 square feet of buildings on a 22-acre site. This became our head office
and was also our first step towards moving into renting commercial property.
I grew up on the site – it was both my playground and learning centre. As a young
boy, I was moving trailers around the yard, and I started working full-time when
I was 18. By this time, the business was general haulage and abnormal loads,
specialising in moving heavy machinery such as industrial knitting machines, 10
to 18 metres long and weighing up to 24 tons. To prevent the machines twisting,
we used specialist steel cradles. These were being moved with our lorries all across
Europe, with Italy being the main market.
When I was 24, I won a contract to do this work, but it was further afield, requiring
a trip to San Antonio, Texas, and back to Loughborough. It was an amazing
»Directors: Richard Walker,
Daniel Walker and James
»Established in 1942
»Incorporated in 1954
»Based in Tuxford
»Services: UK & European
Haulage, Mobile Crane Hire,
Warehousing & Machinery
»Employees: 96
Walker & Son Hauliers
Highlighting best practice
experience, working with a team from
Walker’s and meeting fellow truckers
from the US. It was here though that
I realised haulage was a competitive
market with minimum returns for
maximum hassle.
Diversification when necessity
demands it
In 1981, a derelict, 100,000-square-
foot alloy casting works in Sutton in
Ashfield came up for sale for £165,000.
I had a vision and thus decided to buy
it. Within eight months of working all
hours, we had cleaned, painted and
totally refurbished the property and
let it for £100,000 per annum. It also
gave the company a base near the M1
where there were many new customer
opportunities for the transport business.
Walker & Son and Claremont Property
Holdings now have approximately
three million square feet of commercial
property, including two 22-storey tower
blocks in Salford which are fully let.
Giving back
We employ 96 people and have
approximately ten regular self-employed
workers, but while our retention of staff
is higher than in many industries, it is
one of the biggest challenges we face.
Our employees are important to me – I
like to think I run a classless business
and see them as extended family. I
wouldn’t ask anybody to do anything
that I myself or my sons wouldn’t be
prepared to doalso.
Depending on the year, we either
have a Christmas dinner with partners
or a garden party with partners (with
children being invited). This is a chance
to recognise and reward families
for their patience, especially when
drivers are often away from home for
I have built a full-size football pitch
with amenities on our Tuxford site for
local children and also sponsor four
under-12 teams. These, I hope, may
become future drivers or Premiership
footballers. We support local charities
including Tuxford Village Junior School
and other village causes.
The government needs to
change course
I do, however, have concerns about
attracting people to become HGV
drivers, not helped by the previous
government’s obsession to get most
young people to go to university rather
Richard and Jack with a
100 Ton, 44 metre long
bridge beam destined
for the M74 Glasgow
Our employees
are important
to me – I like
to think I run a
business and
see them as
than pushing apprenticeships and
blue-collar jobs as viable options. We
now have many young people with
debt and weak or irrelevant degrees
and no possibility of finding a suitable
job. I believe some European countries
have managed to get things right in
this regard, as they encourage their
young people to see an apprenticeship
as an esteemed career that is worth
pursuing. I think larger companies,
together with the government, need to
try to change the image of our industry
and perhaps introduce training centres
with driving simulators to get young
people interested.
I would also like the government to
review their 100 per cent rates on
empty commercial buildings, as this
has stopped me further developing
cost-effective industrial units. Although
not directly affected, I am aware
this has also resulted in companies
having to close operations and move
to mainland Europe. Previously,
companies could mothball parts of
buildings between contracts while still
being able to seek new contracts.
Due to uncertainties, and to ensure
the long-term sustainability of the
business, I have diversified into
renewable energy. We now have four
500 KVA wind turbines and 60mg of
peaking gas generator plants for the
capacity market for standby electricity
to the National Grid.
Nevertheless, I am still a haulage man
at heart, operating 50 trucks, 120
trailers, 14 mobile cranes up to 250
tons and 14 Versa Lift machine-moving
forklifts (with capacity up to 45 tons).
I am very grateful to have secured a
succession plan to enable the business
to remain in family hands. My two
sons, Daniel and James, and my
nephew Jack all work in the business.
They each have their own skills that
will “keep the wheels turning” and
might even give me a chance in the
future to do a little racing. I used
to race trucks in the late 1980s and
1990s and was four-time European
Truck Racing Champion. Nowadays, it
would more likely be an old classic: a
bit like me.
I would also like
the government
to review their
100 per cent
rates on empty
buildings, as this
has stopped me
developing cost-
industrial units
Richard with heavy
haulage truck and long
term driver Bob Cantrill


This article was sponsored by Walker & Son Hauliers. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster