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Budget is light on freight, says BIFA

[ March 16, 2016   //   ]

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) says that there was little in today’s Budget that was relevant to the freight and logistics industries.
However, director general Robert Keen said he was concerned by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s warning that storm clouds are gathering over the global economy. “Any softening in the global economy is likely to have a material impact on visible trade, which is the lifeblood of our members.”
BIFA did welcome the freeze on the freeze on fuel duty, but BIFA would continue to ask for an outright cut, an essential user rebate and some form of fuel duty stabilisation mechanism.
It was also disappointed that Osborne did not expand upon the transport capital spending increase that was announced in last year’s Autumn statement.
Keen added: “Back in November 2105, BIFA welcomed the news that funding would be provided for the largest road investment programme since the 1970s, but it would have been good to hear more good news on this front given that a lack of spending has caused the country’s network of A roads and motorways to become congested, undermining the UK’s competitiveness in comparison to its international peers.
“The earmarking of £230 million for road improvements in the north of England, including upgrades to M62, feels like a drop in the ocean compared to last year.”

Chief executive of the UK Warehousing Association, Peter Ward,’s take on the Budget was: “The Chancellor’s comments regarding the global economic outlook reinforce the fact, if indeed it needed reinforcing, that high professional standards, lean operations, innovation and a lot of hard work will remain fundamental requirements for companies operating in the 3PL sector.”

UKWA did however warmly welcome the freeze on fuel duty. Peter Ward said: “By taking this action Mr Osborne has gone some way towards levelling a playing field that many people believe has been tilted against British logistics firms who compete with European operators whose lorries arrive in Britain filled with enough cheap fuel for a week’s work.

“Mr Osborne’s ongoing commitment to investment in road building and other infrastructure projects is also pleasing.

“The country faces some serious choices on infrastructure spending in the coming years as the many and varied social changes that impact upon our traditional ways of life continue apace.

“Societal shifts will lead to inevitable growth in logistics activity and substantial investment on roads and other key infrastructure projects must be given priority. Mr Osborne appears to realise this.”

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