With only weeks remaining before Theresa May triggers Article 50 and begins the process of the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has issued its Brexit manifesto on behalf of the UK’s logistics industry.
With much emphasis placed by the prime minister on successful and seamless international trade deals in the future, the manifesto outlines the 10 key asks which the FTA believes are key to ensuring the success of May’s “frictionless” trade agreements and continued prosperity for UK businesses.
Collated from responses from the Association’s 16,000 members, which represent all sectors of the UK’s freight industry, the Brexit manifesto covers those areas which the industry believes are vital to ensure international trade with Europe, and other regions of the world, continues to grow.
“Britain has always been a trading nation,” said James Hookham, FTA’s deputy chief executive, “and we are firmly behind Mrs May’s vision of a global Britain post-Brexit, with strong international relationships both inside and outside the European Union.
“We believe the logistics industry has a key role to play in ensuring Britain’s new trading relationships are as efficient and effective as possible, and urge Mrs May and her team to ensure the Brexit agreement they secure will enable our members to provide the service that industry so desperately needs, without excessive border delays or bureaucratic red tape.”
Exports to the EU from the UK currently represent 48 per cent of the nation’s output, and with such a key market at stake, the FTA said it is calling on government to retain a barrier-free and frictionless access to the EU market post-Brexit.
“It is crucial trade with the EU remains as seamless as possible,” continued Hookham, “both on the Continent and in Ireland. Delays at borders and customs checks must be kept to a minimum to ensure freight can flow freely between nations to the benefit of manufacturers, retailers and consumers, both in the UK and overseas.”
With the UK’s logistics sector currently turning £1 trillion annually, and contributing more than £121 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy, FTA said it is calling on the government to ensure the trading environment post-Brexit is as supportive as possible to the industry.
“Our members, who manage, operate and consign the majority of road, rail, sea and air freight to and from the UK, need assurances taxation on the sector, in the form of fuel duty, will be cut by 3p per litre to encourage increased trading opportunities,” Hookham said.
“The industry employs 2.54 million people in the UK and it is crucial our members continue to have access to the best skills, wherever they come from.
“And finally, we call on the government to ensure that, whenever possible, opportunities for regulatory simplification are properly assessed before implementation, and there should be a smooth transition before any changes come into force,” he concluded.