Labour Market Statistics show Transport and Storage Stagnation
By Richard Smith, RHA Managing Director
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has just published the Labour Market Statistics up to January 2024. Unfortunately, they do not tell a good story for the transport and storage industry.
From September 2022 to September 2023, the number of workforce jobs in the transport and storage industry remained stagnant, but the number of vacancies dropped by 15,000. This indicates that the sector shrunk as the economy slowed down. Given the number of companies going out of business and the reports we have had from members that freight movements over the Christmas period were 10% to 15% lower than usual it’s clear the industry is struggling and needs more support.
A strong road transport industry is an enabler and accelerator to economic growth, and we need more support now. This is why in our haulage manifesto we launched at our Parliamentary Reception last week we’ve set out a vision to help boost that growth.
We’re campaigning for measures to dial down cost pressures, including a continued freeze on fuel duty, Vehicle Excise Duty for HGVs, the HGV Levy and other business taxes such as corporation tax.
We’re also calling for an emissions-linked rebate on fuel duty for hauliers and coach operators to incentivise the switch to alternative fuels. An Apprenticeship Levy revamp would help us plug skills gaps, as would planning reform to pave the way for better driver facilities and more safe and secure parking.
Collaboration between government, stakeholders and our industry is key.
The effects of the post-pandemic driver shortage showed how important road transport is, and we don’t want to fall into a similar situation again with uncertainty over #inflation and the situation in the Red Sea affecting international supply chains.
Higher interest rates and ever-rising costs have made the cost of running an HGV 9.2% (excluding fuel) more expensive this year than last. In the upcoming Spring Statement we need to see direct assistance for the industry that keeps British business moving to make sure we are there to deliver for the growing economy when better times return.
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