Cutting fuel duty and investing in training and driver facilities to support the freight industry should be a priority for the chancellor in his Autumn Statement, says the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
It sent its submission to the chancellor last week together with a letter from chief executive David Wells highlighting three key issues for the industry – skills shortage, fuel duty and infrastructure investment.
The FTA, which represents 15,000 members in the logistics sector, wants George Osborne to support industry-led training schemes and student loan-type arrangements for those seeking to acquire vocational skills.
And, the association says Government funding for improved roadside facilities, including lorry parks, would make the industry a more attractive prospective employer.
The FTA’s submission to the chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement on Wednesday, November 25, also calls for a 3p per litre reduction in fuel duty to ease cost pressures on domestic road freight, stimulate economic growth and create jobs.
Karen Dee, FTA’s director of policy, said: “The Government’s decision to freeze fuel duties for the past five years has delivered much needed relief not only to the logistics sector, which faces continuing difficult trading conditions, but also to the wider motoring public who rely on their cars to get to and from work.
“But independent research has shown that a 3ppl cut in duty would deliver further benefits - creating jobs, boosting GDP, and in some circumstances, delivering a net increase in tax revenues.”
Turning to skills, she continued: “Skills shortages are presenting a huge challenge to the logistics sector currently which could have far-reaching effects on the UK economy.
“Industry is working hard to address this but Government also has a key role to play. Investment in skills training and in improvements to roadside facilities would have a significant impact on our industry, helping to make it a more attractive and aspirational career choice for young people.”