Logistics looks with hope at Sunak’s Plan for Jobs
The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Plan for Jobs is promising a lot for the UK’s economy according to Elizabeth de Jong, Policy
Director at Logistics UK, the leading business group in the sector (formerly known as FTA). According to de Jong, businesses are hopeful the plan will provide a much needed boost after the few months of uncertainty and lockdown and, while it is unlikely that any scheme will serve as a magical pill, de Jong believes there is some good news for the logistics sector and the wider economy:
‘As a sector, logistics mirrors the rest of the economy and we need demand to return,’ she explains. ‘Rishi Sunak’s Plan for Jobs focuses on the hospitality and leisure industry which was one of the hardest-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Logistics operations in this area were also affected and all stimuli to kickstart business are to be welcomed.’
Shifting labour market The plan will provide a large amount of money to support jobs that can be used for apprenticeships and training. According to de Jong there will be some time before we see how effective all measures were and what the impact on the economy will be. ‘We are working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions and there is a lot of interest amongst our members,’ she continues.
One of the effects of the pandemic on the labour market is that currently there are many high-skilled people on the market who could be retrained. de Jong urges logistics organisations to take advantage of the situation.
Flexible and dependable
The hardest hit were SMEs as many larger players in logistics rationally have saved costs by bringing many jobs inhouse. Parts of the economy are already improving like construction which recorded a bounce back to around 80% of pre-Covid levels. ‘We need to be realistic that there will be a world-wide recession,’ de Jong warns.
The positive news comes from e-commerce which has seen a dramatic increase in volumes and it is expected to sustain the growth in the long term. Additionally, de Jong hopes that the focus on logistics brought by the pandemic will make the sector more attractive to new talent which will be a much-needed boost.
‘Overall, logistics performed amazingly well and proved it is flexible and dependable despite experiencing a massive shock,’ de Jong concludes. ✷
Do the deal
Logistics UK is urging the UK government to reach an agreement with the EU before the end of the year. ‘200,000 businesses need to know what they have to do and have the correct documents by the end of the year,’ de Jong says. According to the business group, the industry needs more detail on all proposals, and working through this detail will be a prime area of 25focus over the next few months. Nick Fox, Head of Logistics - Europe at Theory
Elizabeth de Jong
An economist by background, Elizabeth has a strong track record of leading policy teams to deliver success. She has more than 20 years of experience at a senior level in the transport sector which includes consultancy, business analysis, programme management, policy development and policy delivery. She joined FTA in July 2017 from Rail Delivery Group where she was Director of Policy, and prior to that worked at the Department for Transport.