RHA response to the release of today’s Conservative Party General Election Manifesto:

RHA response to the release of today’s Conservative Party General Election Manifesto:

11 Jun 2024 Posted By Jon Lavery

Although the Conservative Party manifesto is wide-ranging, many of the policies announced are existing government positions. While direct references to freight are limited, the policies outlined will have a positive impact on our sector including on planning reforms, infrastructure investment and business support.

One of the focuses of the manifesto is infrastructure, and the faster delivery of projects. The Conservatives have pledged to reduce the average time to sign off major infrastructure projects from four years to one year in part by ending “frivolous legal challenges” which hold up the delivery of key infrastructure commitments like the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine Project. The manifesto also explicitly outlines the delivery of several road infrastructure projects like the Lower Thames Crossing and the A303. We welcome this commitment.

The manifesto makes a clear offer towards SMEs, promising reform of digital invoicing to tackle late payments and a recommitment to extending full expensing to the cost of leased assets. For employees, the Conservatives also plan to cut National Insurance by a further 2p and remove contributions from the self-employed.

It also continues the party's push to be on the side of drivers. The manifesto commits to stopping road pricing, reversing the ULEZ expansion and banning the roll out of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and 20mph zones where they do not receive local consent.

As we approach the phase out dates for diesel commercial vehicles, the Conservative manifesto makes no reference to decarbonising the heavy vehicle sector. This is disappointing as the industry urgently needs clarity, certainty and a clear roadmap to net zero.

The manifesto makes two big pledges relating to skills: National Service for 18-year-olds, which could include an option to work in logistics for a year, and the pledge to increase the number of high skilled apprenticeships in England by 100,000 each year. They do not however pledge to reform the Apprenticeship Levy – RHA have long called for a more flexible skills levy to better suit the training needs of our industry.

We will provide a full response on all the main party manifestos.