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Next Government Must Help, Not Hinder, The Freight Industry Says FTA

By Kyle Lindsay
Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 12:20

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Christopher Snelling

The UK’s next government must support logistics businesses to enable them to reduce vehicle emissions and cope with the transition to Clean Air Zone regulations, says the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the UK’s largest membership association for the freight industry.

But, according to FTA’s General Election Manifesto released today (10 May 2017), this support must also help develop the market for alternatively fuelled vehicles, rather than simply impose heavy taxes on diesel owners, which will crush economic growth and drive up prices throughout the economy.

“Business, including the logistics sector, has made significant improvements in its environmental impacts in recent years,” says Christopher Snelling, Head of National Policy at FTA, “but there is more work to be done.

It is vital that the next UK government continues to help and support freight and logistics operators as they work to comply with the latest Clean Air Zone regulations, and should not be using the industry as a sector for a problem which is the responsibility of all.

There is no environmental purpose to increasing diesel duty on vans and lorries, as unlike diesel car drivers, operators of these vehicles currently have no realistic alternative.

“FTA members are also calling on the next government to take one simple step to boost economic performance: research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has shown that the introduction of a 3p per litre reduction in fuel duty would boost the economy and be revenue neutral for the Government, since rises in other tax receipts would offset losses on fuel duty, and the resulting additional spending would reinvigorate the economy.”

The UK’s logistics sector contributes over £121 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK’s economy, which equates to 11% of the UK’s non-financial business economy. With an annual turnover of £1 trillion, and employing more than 2.5 million people nationwide, the freight industry has a key role to play in the UK’s future growth and, as Snelling continues, FTA’s manifesto outlines the tasks of its 16,000 members, which they believe will ensure their future business efficiency:

“Trade with the EU currently represents 48% of the UK’s exports of goods and has a vital part to play in the ensuring continued national prosperity. FTA’s Manifesto outlines the key criteria which our members need the next government to consider so that trade can continue in a frictionless, barrier-free environment.”

Among FTA’s other key Manifesto requests are:

Free access for the UK freight and logistics industry to the EU market post-Brexit

Free access for the UK freight and logistics industry to the EU market post-Brexit

Government assistance in forcing new trade deals with leading and emerging economic powers

Increased investment in public infrastructure, both road and rail

Reduction of infrastructure costs associated with rail transport and protection for water freight access, to enable shippers to diversify their transport options

Full details of the FTA’s manifesto can be found at www.fta.co.uk.

“The logistics sector underpins every aspect of modern life,” continues Snelling, “and it is incumbent on the next government to ensure that it remains a key consideration for the next government’s policy decisions, both domestically and internationally.

The industry deserves the full support of the government as it works to ensure the continued success of UK PLC, and we expect whichever party is successful in next month’s General Election to place logistics at the heart of its economic plans.”

The Freight Transport Association can trace its origins back to 1889 and is recognised as the voice of the freight and logistics industry, representing the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles – half the UK fleet – consign over 90 percent of the freight moved by rail and 70 percent of the sea and air freight.

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