The industry comments following Chancellor Philip Hammond's budget announcement. Comment from David Jinks MILT, Head of Consumer Research at ParcelHero & Mike Danby, CEO of Bradford-based Advanced Supply Chain, Adrian Colman, chief executive at Wincanton
Adrian Colman, chief executive at Wincanton
“The additional £270m announced to support autonomous vehicles, robotics and artificial intelligence research is a welcome move by the government to keep the UK at the forefront of disruptive technologies.”
“As the biggest British logistics business, we’re already seeing the potential of these technologies to raise productivity across the supply chain. That’s why just this week we launched W2 Labs – an accelerator programme aimed at challenging start-ups to develop new logistics solutions through digital technologies.”
Dearman’s deputy chief executive Michael Ayres
“The Chancellor’s Budget is a step in the right direction for improving Britain’s air quality. We look forward to engaging fully with government’s review on the use of red diesel and showing that zero emission alternative technologies, such as the Dearman Engine, are available and affordable.”
David Jinks MILT, Head of Consumer Research at ParcelHero
Business Rates changes are the final nail in the coffin for the High Street, which budget does little to help, warns ParcelHero
Parcelhero, welcomes Philip Hammond's first budget’s help in reducing urban congestion; but warns that it has not done enough to remove the threat to High Street retailers already battling the rise of e-commerce.
Says David Jinks MILT, Head of Consumer Research at ParcelHero: ‘Our latest industry report: 2030: Death of the High Street’, warns that the impact of e-commerce could mean our High Streets reach a dead end by 2030, with nothing but nail bars and charity shops in some town centres. The planned changes to Business Rates threaten many High Street retailers with significant rate rises just as they are battling to take on online retailers. The cap of £50 per month for this year for businesses coming out of Small Business Rate Relief is welcome; but what happens to those businesses in two year’s time?'
Continues David: ‘Some city centres are saying their Business Rates are rising by around 50% while e-tailers such as Amazon may even see their rates fall on out of town distribution centres. More needs to be done to save the High Street and look at the disparity of taxes and rates between online and brick and mortar retailers.'
Delivering the future
ParcelHero has warmly welcomed the £270m investment announced in developing robotics and driverless vehicles. Explains David: ‘Britain is at the forefront of technology when it comes to logistics and courier services. Parcels are being delivered by drone in Cambridgshire, droids are delivering packages in London streets and driverless vans are being trialled in Greenwich. Britain and the US are streets ahead of the rest of the Western world when it comes to e-commerce and delivery innovation; and this money will help ensure we stay ahead of the curve.’
But David says there needs to be a joined up policy: ‘What we need to see is a plan for the High Street and e-commerce to grow together; and technology, sensible taxation policies and more flexible planning regulations will help ensure this takes place.
Finally, ParcelHero welcomes the £93M for northern roads, and more money for Midlands routes to tackle pinch points; and the £690 million competition for local authorities to tackle urban congestion. ParcelHero says this is something that will benefit all retailers, whether ‘e-tailers’ or High Street chains. Says David Jinks: ‘Delivery delays cost this country £millions and something needs to be done to ensure Britain gets back on the move. This latest investment will help ensure our logistics services can keep delivering.’
Mike Danby, CEO of Bradford-based Advanced Supply Chain
Mike Danby, CEO of Bradford-based Advanced Supply Chain, a logistics supplier to some of Britain's biggest brands, said: “The announcement today in the Budget that the government will invest only £220m to address pinch-points on the national road network does not go far enough.
“Given that the government has only allocated £90m to the North of England, when a smart motorway scheme that covers only 15 miles of the M62 cost £136m, it is clear that this funding is inadequate – our road network is in dire need of much more substantial investment if it is to play a role in boosting UK productivity as the Government so readily desires.
“This is a missed opportunity from the Government to support a sector that affects and supports every other industry in the UK. To truly revolutionise the national road network, the government needs to look at all options to help impact capacity and journey times on national roads. Whilst road improvements and infrastructure is one solution, we are seeing significant gains in our own productivity, and the productivity of our customers by embracing technology to drive efficiencies into our transportation of goods. The Government should be pushing a tech-first solution too.”