RHA and FTA give cautious welcome to Budget

The FTA and RHA have given cautious welcomes to the UK government’s Budget this week. Affecting logistics and delivery, some £30 billion has been allocated for motorway and road improvements that include £420 million that is immediately available for pothole repair.

However, “while on the one hand this is both good and welcome news, we need to see work start on improving our road network now”, said RHA chief executive Richard Burnett.

“Congestion resulting from road improvements costs the haulage industry millions of pounds each year. We are already heading towards another cold winter and the potholes resulting from last winter’s freezing conditions still need to be fixed before they get even worse.”

The FTA’s head of UK policy Christopher Snelling pointed out that the £420 million for potholes “is a drop in the ocean when you consider that work that will cost more than £8 billion is needed to rectify years of under investment in our road network.”

He continued: “The damage caused by potholes to the UK’s logistics fleet is adding unnecessary cost to the operation of vehicles tasked with keeping Britain trading, and FTA is concerned that the funding released by the Chancellor today will mean that operators will continue to incur these unreasonable costs at a time of extreme trading pressure.

“More could and should have been done to help the logistics sector at such a critical time in the nation’s trading history. It is a lost opportunity,” he added.

However, “the freeze on the Heavy Goods Vehicle HGV VED for 2019-20 is to be welcomed,” said Snelling. The “FTA is particularly pleased to hear that the government is set to maintain the difference between alternative and main road fuel duty rates until 2032.  This will support the de-carbonisation of the UK transport sector and give operators confidence to invest in alternatively fuelled vehicles,” he said.