The UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) has criticised the Chancellor’s Spring Statement for not doing enough to support the warehousing and logistics industry.
UKWA CEO Clare Bottle said that more needed to be done to support the sector, especially following its efforts in lockdown. “While the contribution of warehousing and logistics to the UK economy and our vital role during the pandemic has been acknowledged by Government – most recently by Minister of Employment Mims Davies MP – fine words have once again failed to translate into firm action,” she said.
“The 7.4% inflation forecasts announced today are alarming for low margin businesses like warehousing, as we see increases in rent, energy costs and especially labour. Ultimately, our members will have to pass these costs on to their customers, who will no doubt increase charges to consumers, driving up inflation further.”
She also called for a revamp on apprenticeships. By the end of last year, the Transport and Logistics sector had contributed £700 million to the Apprenticeship Levy since its introduction in April 2017. “Yet the value we are getting remains limited, with less than a quarter of that expenditure recovered through logistics-based apprenticeships,” she said.
“HGV driver apprenticeships have been revamped and we need to do the same for warehousing apprenticeships. UKWA is doing its part, having very recently appointed a new head of training, but Government must do more.”
She also criticised the government for ignoring the warehousing industry when it comes to business rates. “Despite repeated representations from UKWA and others, yet again, warehousing has been ignored,” said Bottle. “The Chancellor’s announcement of business rates discount makes £1.7 billion available for business, but not a penny of that will help warehousing companies. At a time when our members are facing crippling cost rises due to inflation, have absorbed the impact of Brexit and successive national lockdowns, it’s about time the Government started to listen to us.”