UK Warehousing Association launches Election Manifesto in Parliament

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The UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) has launched its Election Manifesto for 2024 at a special Parliamentary Reception, hosted at the House of Commons by Ben Everitt MP and attended by Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, both of whom, along with Greg Smith MP and UKWA CEO Clare Bottle, gave speeches in support of the manifesto.

UKWA members, the UKWA management board and Policy Team presented eight key ‘asks’ for the sector to MPs and stakeholders from relevant government departments, including the Department for Transport (DfT), Department for Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ), and the Department for Levelling Up, Community & Housing (DLUCH).

Clare Bottle, UKWA CEO.

The UKWA Election Manifesto 2024 calls for overdue reform to business rates and urgent improvements to the planning system, as well as highlighting the massive untapped potential of solar power on warehouse rooftops.

According to UKWA CEO Clare Bottle, it is essential with the prospect of a general election in 2024 The Year of Warehousing, that those in power fully understand the importance of warehousing to the UK economy and that the needs of the sector should be made clear to potential future policy makers. 

“Warehousing continues to see tremendous growth and is integral to every aspect of the UK economy, with 8% of the population employed in logistics, yet still our needs are not being met and we are not getting our fair share of parliamentary ‘airtime’,” she said.

“Part of the problem is a lack of joined up government. Currently, our eight policy pleas must be addressed to eight different departments, which is why our first and arguably most crucial request is the appointment of a Logistics Minister in the next government.

“Accordingly, along with 11 other trade associations, we have written to Rishi Sunak, Sir Keir Starmer and other party leaders to put our case, and I’m delighted that at our Parliamentary Reception we gathered dozens more signatures of support. In the meantime, warehousing remains a political ‘blind spot’, and this matters because warehousing is a bellwether for the whole economy.”

Clare concluded, “I was encouraged by the number of MPs and Departmental representatives who attended our Parliamentary Reception, listened to our policy arguments and expressed their support. My hope is for a better informed Government able to recognise that a political environment where logistics – and in particular, warehousing – can grow sustainably and thrive is key to wider economic growth.”

UKWA’s eight asks of government are:

  • Cabinet Office: Appoint a cross-departmental Logistics Minister, dedicated to unlocking our sector’s potential for driving economic growth 
  • Department for Transport: Empower the Connected Places Catapult to promote innovation in warehousing, and continue funding Generation Logistics.
  • Department for Energy Security & Net Zero: Establish a successor to the Solar Taskforce, to ensure momentum continues with the commercial rooftop initiatives in the Solar Roadmap
  • Department for Levelling UP, Housing & Communities: Reform the planning system to ensure sustainable warehouse development meets the needs of workers, consumers and businesses
  • Department for Education: Add the new UKWA Warehouse Manager CPC qualification to the existing L3 standard and allow the Trailblazer group to identify short courses eligible for levy funding.
  • Department for Work & Pensions: Partner with logistics employers to promote high-quality jobs and careers in warehousing; and release funds to pilot sector-specific initiatives where skills shortages are acute.
  • Department for Business & Trade: Encourage UK-based tech companies to design and manufacture automated and systemic solutions needed
  • HM Treasury: Restructure the business-rates system to provide an equitable regime of caps and reliefs for large buildings and a simpler process for challenging unfair valuations.

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