UK freight forwarding sector comments on Autumn Statement

George Osborne made his statement on December 5th

BIFA, the British International Freight Association has commented on elements of this year’s Autumn Statement that will impact on its members’ activities and the wider supply chain in the UK.

Peter Quantrill, BIFA Director General, says: “Now that the Autumn Statement has been delivered, it is possible to consider how its contents may affect our members and their customers.

“BIFA welcomes the news that export finance capacity available to support exporters has been doubled to GBP50 billion. The Chancellor, George Osborne, acknowledged the importance of selling British manufactured products in foreign markets, accepting the weakened state of many export markets. More exports means more business for BIFA members.

“Those members also appreciate the news that that next year’s planned increase in fuel duty has been cancelled.

“We can also only applaud the support given to infrastructure investment in new roads and railways vital to the UK supply chain as outlined in the Autumn Statement. This support comes just after the announcement by HM Treasury at the launch of the 4th National Infrastructure Plan that the planned toll charges on the A14 upgrade in Cambridgeshire are to be scrapped, with the upgrade being paid for from general taxes. Both of these announcements can only be good news for our Members.”

The demise of the toll idea, which was revealed in 2012 and would have been levied to pay for the GBP1.5bn widening scheme, came as Whitehall announced an extra GBP66billion would be injected into major turnkey projects such as transport, energy and telecommunications to stimulate the national economy.

Quantrill adds: “Our Members know only too well how vital the A14 is to freight transport in the east of England. It is vital for freight movements within East Anglia and for our Members moving international road traffic to and from the port of Felixstowe on a daily basis.
On the Autumn Statement, Quantrill added: “Many BIFA Members are SMEs. With fuel duty frozen, GBP1,000 rebate on business rates and a subsidy on employing young people, these are valuable measures for small businesses.”

Quantrill concludes: “Previously, we welcomed the news that the government would allocate an extra GBP3billion every year from 2015-2016 to 2020 to infrastructure projects including roads and railways. We are now hopeful that all this talk of infrastructure investment will cease to be just talk and we will see some spades in the ground.”