Logistics UK response to the Labour Party's General Election Manifesto

Thursday 13 June 2024

In response to today’s (13 June 2024) publication of the Labour Party’s General Election Manifesto, Kevin Green, Policy Director at business group Logistics UK said:

“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.”

Logistics UK is one of the UK’s biggest business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With decarbonisation, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.