Logistics needs further financial support, says FTA
The UK’s Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed Friday’s announcements from the UK Treasury expanding financial support for the logistics and other industries, but called for further support for the sector to ensure that goods and services continue to move freely in such unprecedented circumstances.
“Job security is vital to logistics workers hit by furloughing or uncertain trading conditions,” said Elizabeth de Jong, Director of Policy at FTA, “and FTA’s members are keen to see government deliver and extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to provide certainty of employment. In our view, it is also paramount that a Supply Chain Continuation Fund is created, to give particular help and support to specific areas and sectors hardest hit by the economic slow-down, including key infrastructure points – so the goods keep moving.
“While the extension of the Corona Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) (announced last Friday) will provide welcome relief for those unable to secure regular commercial financing, we will be requesting a sympathetic repayment plan, dependent on profits having returned first. Businesses need to be able to restructure or defer loan repayments to banks, to keep their finances as robust as possible as they take on the challenges posed by the pandemic as well as rebuilding once the situation returns to normal. Excessive charges could see business placed under even more stress which could have a knock-on effect on an economy weakened by the pressures caused by COVID-19.
“Finally, our members need a Track Access Charge holiday for rail freight, to enable large loads to be moved swiftly and efficiently across the rail network while passenger transport is significantly reduced.”
She continued: “As a sector, logistics is always poised to adapt and adjust to new or difficult trading conditions, and over the past few weeks has kept the economy moving thanks to fast thinking and support from government. While all industry needs the help of government, no other affects every single facet of life in the UK, both commercial and domestic, and we are confident that government will appreciate the need to give further support to keep the country’s vital goods and services moving at such a difficult time.”