FTA’s strong belief that Scotland can only meet its tough environmental obligations if greener forms of transport are encouraged seems to have been adopted by Labour and the Lib Dems in the run up to the Scottish elections on May 5.
In its manifesto published this week, Labour proclaims its support for the Freight Facilities Grant to ‘encourage the transfer of freight from road to rail’. Similarly, the Lib Dem manifesto expresses that it will ‘maintain a flexible Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) scheme as part of efforts to promote rail freight as an alternative to road haulage’.
Earlier this year FTA had asked the current SNP Government to reconsider axeing the FFG in a letter undersigned by key industry leaders including the bosses of The Edrington Group, The Malcolm Group and Russell Logistics. The leading trade body and major businesses heavily emphasised FFG’s importance for encouraging companies to invest in technology and equipment allowing them to consider modal switch. The Government announced a partial retrenchment on its plans for cutting the grant when the Budget was presented to Parliament again in February.
Chris MacRae, FTA’s Head of Policy for Scotland, said:
"FTA has worked hard to convince the current government, Scottish politicians on all sides and future policy makers that doing away with the Freight Facilities Grant would be a retrograde step for Scotland’s businesses and for meeting its tough environmental carbon reduction targets. In doing so we secured an important U-turn for the survival of the grant and clearly have the buy in of opposition parties too.
"Modal shift is a hugely important issue given the Scottish government’s ambitious climate change targets and it is pleasing to see this is a view now shared by Lib Dems and Labour. We hope to see this issue now given genuine cross-party approval for the benefit of Scotland."