The good, the bad and the logistics sector - FTA and the draft Scottish Budget

Posted on: Friday, 19 November 2010 by Toby Carroll in categories Media and campaigns, Scotland

John Swinney’s draft Scottish Budget announcement will certainly bring some benefits to the country’s supply chain and help maintain its position as a net exporter of goods.

Key infrastructure projects given the go-ahead

Certain key infrastructure projects, such as the Forth Crossing and upgrades to the M74 and M80, have been given the green light even in the wake of considerable deep cuts to the Scottish Government’s overall budget.

However, there is no such thing as a free lunch. With spending on freight industry projects being slashed to less than a third of current levels, it would seem that the freight industry will shoulder a disproportionate burden in stemming the tide of fiscal deficit.

Spending on freight

The Departmental spend on what it terms “support for the Freight Industry” has gone from £10.3m (out of a total spend of £76.3m), to £2.9m (out of £67.1m), a cut in support for logistics of over two thirds. This will see the end of new projects being accepted into important schemes such as the Freight Facilities Grant, which is vital to improving intermodality in Scotland.

Investment in Scotland’s road network

Troublingly, there is no firm commitment to invest in Scotland’s trunk road network and there are cuts planned to essential maintenance. This could lead to an impact on road safety - FTA will be urging the policy makers, throughout the draft Budget’s parliamentary passage, to look again at FTA’s budget submission which highlighted this as a key area of concern.

The Budget will no doubt undergo a period of political horse-trading with some measures kept, some jettisoned and some modified.

FTA will be interacting with the key politicians on all sides to ensure that the logistics sector gets the fairest deal possible while the Scottish Government tightens its belt.

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