In response to publication of the government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at FTA said:
“Last night there were three items missing from Boris Johnson’s speech which raised concern and worry for the logistics industry, and the 60-page document just published has helped with some, but not all, of these.
“To help alleviate financial risk to the sector while demand in the economy returns, FTA had asked that plans for continued financial support for business should be announced at the same time as the easing of lockdown arrangements was confirmed, and that support should be withdrawn very carefully, in line with demand increasing. The government’s recovery strategy says that government will “carefully wind down economic support schemes while people are eased back into work”. This gives hope, but details around this, especially the next steps for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, on which our industry is extremely dependent, are needed now so that business can plan effectively, without making further redundancies.
“To help more businesses return to work, FTA and other organisations had been working hard on more guidelines for social distancing at work, but these have not been published and all we know is that the “Covid-19 Secure” guidelines will be out this week. It is vital to know if PPE is required for particular activities at work so sufficient can be ordered, but there are still mixed messages about this and clarity is needed urgently.
“Boris Johnson advised those going to work to avoid public transport, and guidance was issued to local authorities on the reallocation of road space to prioritise active travel and walking. Logistics has played a vital part in helping our nation through lockdown and will play a vital part in helping it recover – however, there is no mention of ensuring logistics vehicles also have space on our roads to operate and deliver and this needs to be addressed as an urgent priority so that logistics can continue to deliver for the wider economy.
“Overall, we believe the Strategy provides some, but not all, of the detail that is required to ensure that logistics can assist in the revitalisation of the economy in the coming weeks and months. We urge the government to fill in the gaps to ensure that logistics operators can work safely and efficiently without delay.”
FTA is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing the logistics industry, which is vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Covid-19, 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. FTA 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. For more information about the organisation and its work, including its ground-breaking research into the impacts of COVID-19 on the whole supply chain, please visit www.fta.co.uk.