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Queen's Speech a 'missed opportunity' say disappointed UK trade bodies
Published:2017-6-23   Have been here 1050   Source:泓威国际物流

The freight and manufacturing sectors have expressed disappointment at yesterday’s Queen’s Speech, in which the UK government laid out its plans for the next two years.

The Queen, wearing a hat that many commented resembled the EU flag, listed 27 bills, of which eight related to Brexit.

“It was no surprise that today’s Queen’s Speech was dominated by bills related to Brexit,” said Robert Keen, director general of British International Freight Association (BIFA).

“But it is very disappointing that the Conservatives’ pre-election pledge to invest £40bn in transport infrastructure improvements and expand UK aviation capacity appears to have been overlooked.

“We are left to assume that procrastination on these matters – central to BIFA members that manage the movement of goods within domestic and international supply chains – is likely to continue.”

The Freight Transport Association echoed disappointment, calling the speech a “missed opportunity” to implement reforms in operator licences, which take nine weeks to obtain.

James Firth, the FTA’s head of licensing policy and compliance information, said: “The traffic Ccommissioners are telling us that a lack of reform of this legislation is the key barrier to improving licence processing times.

“The system has failed to keep pace with the dynamic nature of the logistics industry and is now stifling progress and growth. Our members have customers waiting but their business is paralysed until the licence is granted.

“Whilst Brexit will take up much parliamentary time, potential laws in other sectors have been abandoned, so some time should now be available for what are politically uncontentious measures that would help with business efficiency.  The FTA is disappointed it has not taken the opportunity to listen to its own regulators and reform and streamline the commercial vehicle regulatory system.”

Mr Keen added that of the bills which relate to Brexit, there was little detail.

“The Customs Bill appears to include legislation that is designed to help the UK develop a standalone UK Customs regime, post-Brexit, which could mean difficulties for any of our members’ clients hoping to see legislation that would limit changes to the current situation where imports and exports within the EU are tariff-free.

“Now we look forward to seeing greater details on how the Trade Bill will introduce a legal framework for Britain to agree free-trade deals with countries and trading blocs around the world.”

Hopes from the freight industry that the UK would be able to remain in the Customs Union appeared to be dashed, but manufacturers called for a five-year transitional phase – a length of time the EU is thought to be against.

The Engineering Equipment Manufacturers’ Taskforce (EURIS) said a five-year period was necessary to minimise economic disruption to manufacturers.

“Without such a transition period, the UK government risks a situation where failure to reach an agreement would result in barriers to trade for UK companies that import from or export to the EU.

“EURIS manufacturers maintain that the structure of the single market and customs union should remain intact, allowing businesses to operate in the current efficient and seamless manner.  In addition, the status of EU nationals employed in the UK should be guaranteed in order to provide certainty and continuity of skilled labour.”

Both BIFA and the FTA have urged the government to prioritise logistics and trade, and ensure freight can continue to move freely throughout Europe.

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