In his first Autumn Statement since becoming Chancellor, Philip Hammond announced a large increase in infrastructure spending. This has been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) as great news for the industry, that should improve business and save costs for many working in the sector. The increased spending covers many different areas related to the finance of freight and trucking transportation, along with improving processes.
Local transport investment will be boosted by £1.1 billion, split out across rail, road and more specific schemes and projects. Of this, £220 million has been pledged towards tackling traffic pinch points, which should hopefully work towards improving roads during busy commuter times. For freight and lorry drivers this is a major issue that should hopefully reduce the number of hold-ups and delays they experience.
The FTA has welcomed such investment news and claims it will be presenting a list of preferred schemes to local highway authorities, highlighting key areas that will most benefit freight movements. Especially after Brexit, trade and the movement of goods via freight is incredibly important, so investment and improvements will be required.
Another part of the Autumn Statement was that there will be a price freeze on fuel duty of 57.95p a litre. The FTA admitted that they would have preferred a 3p cut, that could have saved up to £1,5000 a year when running a 44-ton truck, but accepted the freeze positively anyway.
Fuel duty has been moved from a so-called ‘sin tax’ that keeps increasing, such as for alcohol and tobacco, to a more regular one with this price freeze. The FTA are hopeful that it will eventually swing in the opposite direction and the fuel tax duty is reduced, in order to help the industry as well as individuals and families.
Savings for SMEs
With the new infrastructure investment and price freezes, many SMEs could save around £9,000 a year based on running a ten-vehicle fleet. Additional investment in improving roads, traffic and other processes will cut the costs brought on by delays, accidents and more. While the fuel duty freeze means additional costs will not be added on top to stretch many budgets in the freight business.
Overall the Autumn Statement appears to be good news for the industry, with any spending increases likely to improve proceedings. Depending on how the money is split out, it could see the freight business in the UK improve in many different ways.