Fleet News

Transport sector expects steady growth over the next decade but UK business environment to worsen

British transport businesses predict steady growth and an increase in real GDP over the next 10 years but almost a three quarters of respondents (74%) foresee businesses facing more red tape, according to ‘Business in 2021’ research released today by Barclays Corporate.

The research, in which business leaders from varying sectors were surveyed on the conditions they expect their businesses to face in a decade, found respondents overall to be generally positive about the UK’s long term economic prospects, with half expecting the UK to be a better place to do business in 2021. However when looking specifically at the responses from businesses within the transport sector, the mood is less positive, with only 26% expecting the UK to be a ‘somewhat better’ place whilst 35% believe UK business conditions will deteriorate.

When considering the UK’s global competitiveness over the next decade, 41% of businesses in the transport sector expect the UK to be less competitive globally in 10 years time. This follows through to expectations around UK exports with more than two thirds (70%) of those in the transport sector expecting a decrease in export levels compared with just 17% that expect an increase.

Despite the pessimism in the sector, more than half (54%) of transport businesses predict steady and sustained growth over the coming decade, with only 25% expecting negative growth. When asked what will fuel this growth, technology is cited by 85% as being a key driver, followed by immigration/population growth (82%).

Rob Riddleston, head of transport and logistics at Barclays Corporate comments; “To see so many businesses anticipating steady and sustained economic growth over the next decade should also be welcome news for a Government that is focused so heavily on developing a credible growth strategy as part of the debt reduction plan. The transport sector is a bell weather for economic activity in terms of both passenger and freight movements and will thus reflect the wider prospects for the UK.”

Foreign investors stand to benefit, with 69% of transport sector respondents predicting an increase in foreign ownership of UK companies and assets over the next decade, including 33% believing there will be ‘much more’ foreign ownership in the UK.

Riddleston continues; “The UK has been a magnet for foreign direct investment for more than two decades bringing both benefits and challenges. While we can expect more international investment in the UK to stimulate economic development and job creation, there also needs to be consideration given to the fact decision making, research and development and tax generation may be located elsewhere.”

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  • FleetEnergyWatcher - 24/08/2011 10:43

    Bell weather? Surely he means bellwether - a castrated ram leading a flock of sheep. Not a bad simile for the transport sector, some would say! Given the severe energy challenges facing the UK, along with other advanced industrial economies, growth in one area of transport is likely to come at the expense of other areas. For example, the latest DfT stats show car travel still declining while van mileage rises: possibly due to internet shopping replacing physical shopping trips.

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