Logistics UK Urges Government For Help With Skills Shortage

According to Logistics UK, formerly the Freight Transport Association, the industry needs government support in the upcoming 2021 Budget, particularly to help with training and employment.

Fleet Point reports that in a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP, sent ahead of the spring Budget, Logistics UK’s chief executive David Wells has asked for interest-free loans or grants to help training.

According to Wells, this would enable those seeking work to take advantage of opportunities in logistics, which is facing a shortage of skilled workers in roles such as HGV drivers. He explained that the sector supports every area of the UK’s economy, but has been struggling to fill vacancies.

“The loss of EU workers after Brexit has had a significant impact and our member organisations cannot find staff with the right skills, qualifications and experience,” he said.

“The Apprenticeships system is useful but cannot deliver at the scale or speed required and needs reform: the government has already pledged to test new working patterns for apprenticeships in the last Spending Review and now needs to accelerate this work.”

He added that with HGV driver training typically costing around £7,000 per person, the government should provide grants or interest-free loans to train and reskill new employees, increasing the pool of available workers to fill the skills gaps in the sector.

The letter, which was also sent to representatives across business and industry in the House of Commons, also highlighted the importance of fuel duty to be kept at its current levels, as well as incentives to switch to alternative fuels.

Wells concluded with a call for additional infrastructure investment, designed to support the transfer of freight between transport modes, as well as prioritising investment in a charging infrastructure that will help speed adoption of electric vehicles nationwide.

“It is imperative that Mr Sunak provides more support for skills in this year’s Budget. This will enable a healthy logistics sector to keep the UK’s businesses supplied as the economy builds back better,” he said.

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