Logistics UK has urged the government to support the supply chain ahead of the spring Budget 2021.
In a letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak, the organisation has called for a series of measures to be implemented to strengthen the resilience of businesses charged with supplying the nation’s economy.
In addition to holding fuel duties at present levels and incentivising low carbon alternatives, David Wells, chief executive for Logistics UK, has asked the government to facilitate access to employment within the sector through interest free loans or grants to aid training.
According to Wells, this would enable those seeking work to take advantage of opportunities in logistics, which is reportedly facing a “shortage of skilled workers” in operational roles such as HGV Drivers.
In his letter, Wells also presses the “importance of fuel duty to be held at present levels”, together with added incentives to switch to alternative fuels, to aid an industry which has been “hit hard” by the economic downturn of the past year:
Wells claimed that fuel duty is a direct cost to business with the organisation estimated that a “one penny increase per litre of fuel would add £470 per annum to the cost of running one truck”.
He said: “Our sector supports every area of the UK’s economy, but has been struggling for some time to fill vacancies. The loss of EU workers after Brexit has had a significant impact and our member organisations cannot find staff with the right skills, qualifications and experience.
“The Apprenticeships system is useful but cannot deliver at the scale or speed required and needs reform: the government has already pledged to test new working patterns for apprenticeships in the last Spending Review and now needs to accelerate this work.”
He added: “And with HGV Driver training typically costing around £7,000 per person, grants or interest-free loans should be provided to train and reskill new employees, increasing the pool of available workers to fill the skills gaps in our sector.”