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Logistics UK’s new election manifesto calls for the appointment of a dedicated supply chain minister

The UK’s next government must appoint a minister for logistics and supply chain to drive growth across the whole economy, trade group Logistics UK has claimed.

In its election manifesto, the trade body argued giving logistics a seat at the Westminster table would allow it to work closely with government to make the sector more efficient and “bring dividends for the UK’s whole economy”.

“Whether manufacturing or retail, healthcare or education, every part of our economy relies upon logistics to provide all the goods needed to generate business and growth,” said Logistics UK CEO David Wells. “Innovative, integrated infrastructure backed by a national logistics network will deliver efficiencies and opportunities that can benefit us all.

“Giving logistics a voice at the heart of government would ensure that the needs of industry and business are heard, and that our sector can work with government to drive up the country’s productivity.”

Wells also said the sector, which is the backbone of many other industries including retail and manufacturing, would deliver “up to £7.9bn per year in productivity-led growth if backed by the right government policies, as well as creating jobs and trading opportunities both domestically and overseas”.

“The establishment of a cross-Whitehall Logistics Productivity Forum, led by a dedicated logistics and supply chain government minister, would ensure that benefits from our sector can be delivered to the whole economy.”

In addition to the appointment of a new minister, Logistics UK is also urging all political parties gearing up for campaigning ahead of a general election this year to establish more skills partnerships and reforms to funding models to attract more talent into the sector, and to further support the industry’s transition to a green economy with the right technology and infrastructure investment as well as tax incentives.

“Logistics businesses operate on particularly narrow margins, with limited funds currently available for investment in new technologies,” Wells said. “We continue to press for a dynamic mechanism for fuel duty to be introduced, with tax incentives for the use and production of alternative low carbon fuels, to keep business costs down and ensure that the sector can invest effectively in a green future.”

The group has also asked for reduced border friction “through new and expanded trading relationships with Europe and the rest of the world”.

The trade group’s new manifesto was endorsed by senior leaders from across the industry. It came as a new Ipsos survey showed four in five Brits agreed the strength of the UK’s economy relied on having an efficiently run logistics sector.

The survey also showed the UK public believed growing the economy and creating jobs should be the government’s top priority around policies for logistics, followed by keeping the costs of goods down for customers.

In recent years, UK consumers have grown increasingly aware of the role that logistics and supply chain play in not just availability of goods but also prices.

This role became apparent during Covid-19 and the subsequent supply chain crisis, but other recent events such as the Red Sea conflict have also highlighted its importance.

“The public understands how vital logistics is and, rightly, does not think the government is doing enough to support the industry,” Wells claimed.

He added keeping costs down for consumers remained a key priority for the logistics industry.