Logistics UK responds to General Election manifestos

Kevin Green, Policy Director at Logistics UK shares the Group’s thoughts on the Conservative and Labour Party General Election manifestos, which were published earlier this month.

Logistics UK responds to General Election manifestos

In response to the Conservative Party’s General Election manifesto, he commented: “The Conservative manifesto recognises the importance of transport and other infrastructure investment to support the economy, and our member businesses would welcome measures to tackle congestion, potholes and patchworks of local rules.   

“However, to unleash the power of logistics to drive growth across the whole economy, our sector needs agreement and investment in a strategic logistics network and an agreed road map between government and industry to net zero. The manifesto’s commitments on green levies and road pricing are interesting but it is the long-term plans in these areas and in infrastructure improvement that will enable businesses to invest, with confidence. 

“Logistics UK is calling for a partnership with the next Government, backed by a dedicated minister for logistics and supply chain, to develop and deliver long term plans for logistics, a sector that underpins and holds the key to growth across the whole economy. Without such a bold approach, and reform of planning, the apprenticeship levy reform and our trading relationship with Europe, we will not get the economic growth the country needs.   

Labour Party manifesto

Responding to the Labour Party’s General Election manifesto, Kevin Green, added: “The Labour manifesto rightly puts economic growth at the centre of its ambitions and recognises the importance of industrial strategy and infrastructure delivery, as well as reform to planning, the Apprenticeship Levy and our trading relationship with Europe to achieve that. UK productivity and growth needs a boost, and it will take a step-change in how government works to achieve this by ending siloed, short-term thinking in favour of joined-up, long-term strategies, in partnership with business.

“Labour is right to commit to upgrading the grid to support the electrification of industry. However, it is vital that net zero, infrastructure and fiscal plans are fully aligned. If the end of sale date for new internal combustion engine vans is put back to 2030, this must be matched by a substantial increase in public and depot charging, and incentives for businesses so they can afford the investment. The proposed 10-year infrastructure strategy also recognises the need for a long-term focus. However, we would press for an even longer timeframe with 30-year infrastructure strategies that are implemented and held to account through five-year delivery plans. This would move us away from the current stop-start approach that sees much-needed projects take far too long to move from concept to delivery, holding our economy back.

“With logistics underpinning the whole economy and being essential to unleashing growth, Logistics UK is pleased that the Labour Party is committing to work in partnership with businesses. Our sector is entwined with so many aspects of society and business that we would urge for this partnership to be backed by a dedicated minister, with cross-departmental responsibilities. Our members are clear that they need senior representation in the Cabinet to push the UK forwards with a national logistics network; a fair transition to a green economy that recognises that the high cost of doing business is currently inhibiting investment in decarbonisation; skills partnerships and an expanded relationship with Europe to break down barriers to trade.  

“Logistics is one of the UK’s largest sectors, employing 8% of the workforce and delivering strong potential for social mobility, and we welcome plans to replace the Apprenticeship Levy with a Growth and Skills Levy, align skills provision and migration with an industrial strategy, and empower regional mayors to support skills and growth. However, it is vital to recognise that the UK logistics sector works nationwide, and requires approaches to planning, transport and skills to support that. It is also essential that businesses are fully consulted on the details of employment reforms, to ensure they work in practice.”

Image credit: Dreamstime