Following the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget 2017 update, Menzies Transport & Logistics sector team have reviewed the impact of Philip Hammond’s announcement upon the UK business services community.
Autumn Budget 2017 comments provided by Andrew Galliers.
The Government produced a mixed bag of a budget for the T&L sector, with some pleasing announcements around infrastructure and new technology. However, the urgency of addressing the driver shortage will go down as an opportunity missed as the Chancellor focussed on a lack of skills in the Construction and Digital Skills sectors.
One of the high points of this budget was the continued freeze in the fuel duty alongside a freeze on HGV Vehicle excise duty and the Road User Levy with the a promise to review the latter to ensure it rewards those who plan their routes effectively.
An announcement was made regarding a special fund of £220m for a new clean air fund, allowing local authorities to help individuals and businesses adapt as changes are implemented. Whilst this is a step in the right direction, it would have been good to see that the government announcing nationwide standards instead of leaving operations at risk from varying local levy’s.
The Government seem to be positioning the UK as a technology hub after Brexit with varying funds announced to support innovation. Notably, the announcement was made that the regulatory framework surrounding driverless vehicles was to become world leading, with the aim that fully self driving vehicles were on the road by 2021.
Our call before the budget was that incentives should be offered to the SME sector to ensure that the whole market embraced technology, rather than leaving it to filter down from the larger players.
Disappointingly, it seems that nothing was done to address the ongoing shortage in skilled drivers. The announcement was made that the apprenticeship levy will be continually reviewed to ensure that it’s working for both employers and employees, however the budget focussed on Construction and Digital skills as sectors where the workforce is lacking.
Going forward, we’d call on the Government to focus on this area as reliance on new technology will not provide a quick fix.
It was pleasing to see that commitments to infrastructure and modernising transport were made during the speech with a £1.7 billion fund to support projects looking at improving connectivity and reducing congestion
Finally, one key area was that an announcement was made that the New National Infrastructure Commission would be undertaking a study into freight movement.
This will be published in Spring 2019 and focus on the future of freight infrastructure by looking at urban congestion, decarbonisation and how to harness the potential of new technologies such as platooning, where trucks travel in convoy using smart technology to communicate.
Get more input on the Autumn Budget 2017 implications for the Transport & Logistics sector by speaking to our sector team.
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