Thoughts on the Autumn Budget 2017

Budget comment from Gary Whittle Commercial Director, Meachers Global Logistics

Gary Whittle, Commercial Director of Meachers Global Logistic based in Nursling, commenting on the Budget 2017 said: “All in all the budget has seen some positive actions being implemented, but our main concern is how the Local Authority will engage, listen and communicate directly with local business to make sure that any funds available will be spent to benefit the local economy.

Talking about Brexit: “It is key that, as one of the world strongest economies, we achieve a smooth transition for Brexit; setting aside additional budget is prudent for this to be achieved.”

“In terms of driverless technology and electric vehicles: “We cautiously welcome driverless technology but it is felt that artificially ambitious targets are not helpful. This is also echoed with the investment into electric vehicles. The correct infrastructure must be in place and achievable timescales implemented for it to succeed. From a freight perspective a nationwide plan would have to be discussed and implemented.”

Gary went on to say: “The £1.7bn set aside for Transforming Cities is, as we see it, a step in the right direction, however, businesses must be consulted by their local authorities as to where these funds are best placed, to ensure that it is focused correctly and to ensure they are spent for the best of the local business community. It is about communication and the Local Authorities understanding what is really needed in these cities before allocating the pot.”

“It is good to see the skills agenda identified, but again, as I have said before, a statement of industry partnerships with trade unions is one which we in business have heard before and has yet to see the full potential of this collaboration manifest itself.”

Commenting on Fuel duty: “Freezing fuel duty and HGV VED again for the 8th year in a row is a positive move for the logistics industry as it recognises the other ever increasing costs which are incurred within the industry and will help us to remain competitive in the European market place.”

“It has to be said though, the biggest interest for us is to see that Air Quality and the implementation of the Air Quality Plan was mentioned within the budget. Southampton in particular has significant issues regarding this problem and the Local Authorities and other stakeholders need to ensure they have a cohesive and well communicated plan as possible was well as listening and engaging with local businesses and the community.”