Brexit: time for action not debate

London, UK: After a week of frenetic political developments, the Freight Transport Association is urging politicians to refocus on the needs of business if Brexit is to be a success for the UK economy.

Ahead of this week’s publication of the government’s Brexit White Paper, the Freight Transport Association has called on both sides of the House to ensure that the final agreement will ensure that British business can continue to trade efficiently with its continental neighbours once the UK leaves the EU.

“The time for talk is definitely over,” says James Hookham, deputy chief executive, Freight Transport Association.

“Businesses urgently need a confirmed action plan for how a smooth and efficient Brexit is to be achieved, without the constant political posturing and power grabbing which has dominated the past few days. Now is the time for positive moves to enable logistics businesses to plan, prepare and adapt successfully to new trading conditions after March 2019.

“Despite plenty of hot air around the topic in recent weeks, businesses could still be faced with the risk of a highly disruptive “no deal” scenario, which could destroy the efficient UK/Europe supply chain which keeps our shops and businesses stocked and running. Politicians owe it to companies to provide them with a workable White Paper that will allow positive plans to be made, to protect both trade and the millions of jobs involved in an efficient logistics industry. Political posturing is no substitute for commercial confidence.”

FTA is once again calling the attention of politicians to its eight point roadmap, designed to ensure that the UK’s departure from the European Union does not compromise or curtail trade across the Channel.

“We have all been very patient, but it is now time for politicians to shut up and show us how committed they are to ensuring secure trading relationships in the future. Logistics is, by its very nature, flexible and adaptable to change, but there are certain areas requiring immediate attention which we need to see confirmed in the White Paper, if Britain’s trading routes are to continue to flourish.”

FTA’s eight-point Brexit plan, formulated from the opinions of the association’s 17,000 member organisations, outlines what needs to be agreed and put in place to keep Britain and the EU trading together and to protect deeply integrated supply chains.

“Retail, manufacturing and other business sectors rely on next day deliveries to keep production lines moving, shop shelves stocked and customers satisfied. The Chequers agreement, released earlier this week, contained encouraging markers towards a sustainable logistics industry in the future, but we would urge all those involved in debating the White Paper to put the needs of business at the forefront of their considerations as voting begins. Without that, British businesses could find life increasingly difficult as the UK leaves the EU next March.

“Time is very short if Brexit is to be a success for the UK – we have little time left in which to achieve a huge amount. The logistics industry wants to ensure that trade continues to flow freely throughout the UK and across its borders, but without the clarity on key issues including employment status for EU nationals and tariffs and permits for goods and vehicles, the past two years of negotiation could come to nothing. On behalf of one of the UK’s unsung ‘hero’ industry sectors, FTA is urging government to keep Britain trading by adopting the recommendations of the logistics industry in its White Paper – or else risk the continued success of the UK’s economy.”

Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.

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