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FTA advises new Conservative party leader against no deal to keep Britain trading

As the Conservative Party leadership contest reaches its conclusion this week, FTA, the organisation representing the logistics industry, has written to both candidates to urge them to consider the impacts a ‘No deal Brexit’ would have on UK-EU supply chains, and to ensure the co-ordination of logistics activities at a high level to minimise and manage these effects in order to keep Britain trading.

“FTA has worked closely with government over the past three years to develop contingency plans for a No Deal Brexit,” explains James Hookham, deputy chief executive for FTA, “We remain hugely concerned at the fragility of these plans and the state of readiness of traders, carriers and agencies on both sides of the border to implement them flawlessly as early as 31 October.

“As an apolitical organisation, we do not dispute the decision of the Referendum but we are convinced by our Members that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit would be the worst possible outcome for the economy and is to be avoided at all costs. We are however encouraging our members to prepare for all eventualities, but in order to do so, they need urgent action from Government, starting with the extension of easements previously conceded for 29 March, some of which will have expired before 31 October. We have offered FTA’s support to both candidates in the Tory party leadership election to provide advice and guidance moving into such a crucial period for the future success of the British economy.

“Many pieces of the 'jigsaw' remain incomplete if traders and hauliers are to continue to operate effectively after 31 October, but government preparations seem to have stalled. We need these procedures to be completed and pending questions to be clarified and answered as soon as possible Livelihoods are dependent on cross border trade, both in Ireland and on the mainland, and the clock is ticking if businesses are to adopt and adapt to new trading processes and learn new procedures.

“Most importantly, there needs to be certainty around the what will happen at the Irish land border for the haulage businesses that will be the first to cross it on the first morning of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit.”

As part of the approach to both MPs, FTA has offered to brief Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt fully on the issues involved and potential areas of concern for its members, and also volunteered to join Mr Hunt’s proposed Logistics Co-ordination Committee.

“Britain’s supply chain is at the heart of business across the country and is a tightly interdependent operation which supports those trading both domestically and internationally. Focus on Brexit seems to have waned in government during the leadership election, but it is of vital importance that preparations are revived at the earliest possible opportunity. As the leading business organisation in logistics, FTA has an unrivalled depth of knowledge and a unique perspective on the end to end supply chain process and is keen to provide any assistance required to keep Britain trading, regardless of the outcome in October. We look forward to hearing from the new Tory leader at his earliest convenience.”

Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.  

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