HGV Driver Shortages
In Europe driver shortages are now thought to top 400,000 and the UK is thought to be short of 76,000 to 100,000 drivers.
To combat this the UK government has announced a package of measures to ease risk of shortages.
· Up to 4,000 people will be trained as new HGV drivers to help tackle skills shortages and support more people to launch careers within the logistics sector.
· Package of measures includes using MOD examiners to help increase immediate HGV testing capacity by thousands over the next 12 weeks.
· Nearly 1 million letters to be sent to all drivers who currently hold an HGV driving licence, encouraging them back into the industry.
· 5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers added to existing visa scheme until Christmas 2021 to ease supply chain pressures in food and haulage industries during exceptional circumstances this year.
Recruitment for additional short-terms HGV drivers and poultry workers will begin this month and these visas will be valid until 24 December 2021. However, the government has stated they “want to see employers make long term investments in the UK domestic workforce instead of relying on overseas labour to build a high-wage, high-skill economy.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“This package of measures builds on the important work we have already done to ease this global crisis in the UK, and this government continues to do everything we can to help the haulage and food industries contend with the HGV driver shortage.
We are acting now but the industries must also play their part with working conditions continuing to improve and the deserved salary increases continuing to be maintained in order for companies to retain new drivers.
After a very difficult 18 months, I know how important this Christmas is for all of us and that’s why we’re taking these steps at the earliest opportunity to ensure preparations remain on track.”
"Looking ahead, ways have to be devised to make the role more attractive in order to ensure its long-term sustainable future. This may be problematic as no one knows for sure how big the pool of potential candidates for driver roles is. Concurrently, working with industry, government must address its responsibilities to improve the road network with an emphasis on making it safe. It is going to take time to fix the problem but at least all know the importance to the nation of drivers and their vehicles." (BIFA, 2021)
2.BIFA (2021). Driver Shortage: impacts post EU-Exit and COVID-19 recovery. BIFAlink, 1 Oct., pp.10–11.