Peter Ward, CEO of the United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA), comments:
“It is clear that the housing challenge is now at the top of the Government’s agenda and the plan to build 300,000 net new homes a year on average by the mid-2020s will bring challenges and opportunities to the logistics industry.
“The occupiers of these new homes will have to be fed and clothed and, presumably, will expect their online orders to be delivered within 24 hours, so it is essential that the needs of the freight and logistics industry are included in the new homes plans.
“The Government must factor-in the need for land to be allocated for the construction of logistics hubs to serve these new consumer communities and, to this end, UKWA was pleased to note that Mr Hammond announced several measures that should help speed up the planning process and reduce the practice of 'land-banking' which has been a key factor in exacerbating the lack of suitable warehousing property across the UK.
“Through its various advisory boards, UKWA has already been working to bring the lack of available development land and fit-for-purpose warehousing space in all cities to the Government’s attention and has presented evidence that highlights the potential crisis in prospect if this issue is not addressed.
“We look forward to hearing what the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government has to say in the coming days and remain ready to work with the government on all proposals that come forward.
“Overall, I think the budget held few surprises for the logistics sector. While UKWA would have preferred the Chancellor to have cut duty on fuel, Mr Hammond’s announcement that the fuel duty rise scheduled for April 2018 is to be cancelled will be warmly welcomed by UKWA members. It will reduce the cost pressures on UK supply chains and, it is hoped, stimulate growth in the economy.
“But, against the backdrop of reduced economic growth and, of course, Brexit, the Chancellor’s words reinforce the fact that high professional standards, lean operations, innovation and a lot of hard work will remain at the core of any successful logistics operation.”