Commitments by the Labour party to reform planning, prioritise potholes and overhaul the apprenticeship levy should it be elected to government have been welcomed by the industry’s two main trade associations.

Launching its manifesto ahead of next month’s general election, Labour said it would streamline the process for nationally significant infrastructure projects, such as the Lower Thames Crossing, as well as update the national policy planning framework.

It said it would allocate £1.8bn to upgrade ports and replace the apprenticeship levy with a growth and skills levy instead.

Labour also promised to upgrade the grid in order to support the transition to electric-powered trucks – but Logistics UK cautioned that net zero, infrastructure and fiscal plans must all be fully aligned: “If the end of sale date for new internal combustion engine vans is put back to 2030, this must be matched by a substantial increase in public and depot charging, and incentives for businesses so they can afford the investment,” said Kevin Green, policy director at Logistics UK.

“The proposed 10-year infrastructure strategy also recognises the need for a long-term focus.

“However, we would press for an even longer timeframe with 30-year infrastructure strategies that are implemented and held to account through five-year delivery plans.”

Green said he was pleased to see the Labour Party committing to working in partnership with businesses to create growth: “Our sector is entwined with so many aspects of society and business that we would urge for this partnership to be backed by a dedicated minister, with cross-departmental responsibilities.

“Our members are clear that they need senior representation in the cabinet to push the UK forwards with a national logistics network; a fair transition to a green economy that recognises that the high cost of doing business is currently inhibiting investment in decarbonisation; skills partnerships and an expanded relationship with Europe to break down barriers to trade.”

RHA director of public affairs and policy, Declan Pang, said it welcomed the focus on dealing with potholes, but he said: “This must not come at the expense of deferring schemes which are essential for tackling congestion and creating reliable journey times for hauliers and motorists alike, such as the A27 bypass.

“One of the first jobs of the new government is to review the third road investment strategy and ensure it is robustly funded.

“Maintaining our road network should not come at the cost of investing in its future.”

Pang added: “On taxation, the commitment to retain the full expensing system for capital investment and the annual investment allowance for small business is welcome but we need to see the same commitment for full expensing for leased assets.

“This will prove a significant support to hauliers, van and coach operators, particularly those affected by higher interest rates.”

ParcelHero noted that the Conservatives have also pledged to invest billions improving local roads and committed to a business rates support package worth £4.3bn: “However, the manifesto says this will be achieved by increasing the multiplier on distribution warehouses that support online shopping over time,” pointed out David Jinks, ParcelHero head of consumer research.

“Again, it’s vital any party in government recognises that successful companies will have physical stores and distribution warehouses to support their e-commerce activities.”

Jinks also said: “There is one Labour pledge we are very sad to see.

“The manifesto says there will be no return to the single market or the customs union. Labour says it will work to improve the UK’s trade and investment relationship with the EU by tearing down unnecessary barriers to trade.

“However, without a significantly stronger trading arrangement with Europe, it’s hard to see how all the new Brexit red tape that is strangling Britain’s exporters to Europe can be eliminated.”