The Freight Transport Association (FTA) said the chancellor’s Autumn Statement announcement on increased infrastructure spending was “great news”.
Chancellor Philip Hammond’s decision to boost local transport network investment by £1.1bn – including £220M to tackle traffic pinch points (where transport usually bottle-necks) – was welcomed by the FTA. The announcement was made in Hammond’s first and last Autumn Statement this week (November 23).
FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham said: “The increased spending on infrastructure is great news and we await the details of which specific road and rail schemes will go ahead in the next few days.
‘More money for local infrastructure’
“More money for local infrastructure is welcome, and we will be presenting our list of preferred schemes to local highway authorities and the devolved governments to prioritise those that most benefit freight movements.”
The price freeze on fuel duty of 57.95p a litre was also warmly received by the FTA, although it said a price cut would have been more beneficial. The organisation, whose members include those transporting food and drink products, had called for a 3p a litre cut in fuel duty, which it said would have saved around £1,500 annually on the running cost of a 44t truck.
Hookham said: “Naturally we are pleased with the chancellor’s decision not to increase fuel duty in line with inflation as previously planned. The freeze will save truck operators – the majority of which are small and medium businesses – about £9,000 a year for a typical 10-vehicle fleet.
‘Even greater benefit to the economy’
“Fuel duty has moved from being a ‘sin tax’ like alcohol and tobacco duty, to being recognised as a core burden on families and businesses who can be helped by freezing it. The chancellor needs to continue that logic and recognise that reducing tax duty in future will bring even greater benefit to the economy.”
Meanwhile, manufacturing organisations welcomed the decision for a £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund over the next five years, announced in the Autumn Statement. Both EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and the Confederation of British Industry described Hammond’s budget as “pragmatic”.
What they say about the Autumn Statement:
- FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham said: “The increased spending on infrastructure is great news and we await the details of which specific road and rail schemes will go ahead in the next few days. More money for local infrastructure is welcome, and we will be presenting our list of preferred schemes to local highway authorities and the devolved governments to prioritise those that most benefit freight movements.”
- United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) ceo Peter Ward said: “UKWA members will have been encouraged by the fact that the chancellor is clearly focused on delivering the infrastructure upgrades that are needed to support a productive economy.”
- Schneider Electric zone president of UK and Ireland Tanuja Randery said: “We are delighted with the commitment from the chancellor for the further investment into the UK’s digital infrastructure. This, combined with the investment in research and development, creates a strong foundation for the UK to expand its position as an innovation powerhouse.”