UK Party Manifestos – What do they tell us about logistics and freight policy?

By Rod McKenzie, RHA managing director of policy and public affairs 

Now the main parties have issued their manifestos for the general election – the RHA has been putting them under the microscope.   We’ve left aside general policy issues such as the NHS and Brexit – and focussed on policy areas of key importance to the logistics and haulage trade. Because of devolution on those issues we are covering England and Wales only – separate articles will follow on Scotland and Northern Ireland parties.

Where party policies are not mentioned, it because none appear in their manifesto that our relevant.  A reminder that the RHA is politically neutral so we’re not suggesting how you should vote or endorsing any party.

Let’s start with Transport
The Tories are promising to spend £25bn to upgrade key roads over the next 5 years including £500m a year for 4 years for filling potholes. 

The Liberal Democrats say every new small van sold by 2030 will be electric their spending plans on transport appear not to be linked to road investment. 

Labour’s transport policy is about rail, public transport and walking and cycling,  The RHA understands they have no plans for road investment.

The Environment
Labour are aiming for net-zero emissions by the 2030s with the Liberal Democrats aiming for 2045 and the Tories holding out for 2050 along with binding targets for air pollution which may have the effect of further encouraging towns and cities to accelerate clean air zone charging which remains a big worry.

A key issue for us with a shortage of lorry drivers and other key staff:  Labour would create a national education service providing all children and adults with free education for life. 

The Conservatives would put £100m for testing a National Retraining Scheme for adults and put £400m more into further education and sixth forms.
Both these could help fund driver training but it’s not clear. 

Whatever your views on Brexit – immigrants are a key ingredient of a logistics workforce and we’ve been worried that the Tories “brightest and best” only pledge might exclude drivers and warehouse staff.

In their manifesto they are pledged to reduce overall immigration and introduce an Australian style points based system treating all migrants “equally, regardless of where they come from”.

Labour have no plans to cap net migration and say the immigration system will be based on the needs of the economy.  They say they’ll also protect the rights of the 3m EU citizens living in the UK.

The LibDems would remove minimum income requirements for spouse and partner visas.

The Economy
The Tories will postpone the scheduled Corporation Tax Cut from 19% to 17% and review business rates in England while also cutting employers National Insurance contributions by £1,000.

Labour would increase Corporation Tax to 26%.  The LibDems would put the same tax at 20% and scrap business rates replacing them with a commercial landowner levy.

Good luck making your choice.