Shortage Of HGV Drivers Threatens Economic Recovery

A new report suggests that 29% of transport logistics companies will be unable to fill vacancies for HGV drivers this year. In addition, almost one in ten logistics businesses say that difficulties in recruiting drivers is an ‘extreme barrier’ to the recovery of their trade, according to a press release by Logistics UK.

The group recently released a report which calls for the government to take urgent action to tackle the driver shortage. It fears that not addressing the mounting problem will hamper the economic recovery of the UK from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The economic downturn initially masked the shortage of HGV drivers, which has been exacerbated by Brexit, a pausing of training and testing for licences during the pandemic, and recent IR35 tax changes. As industries open back up, the number of drivers who left the profession is starting to become apparent.

Logistics UK calls for the government to provide interest-free loans or grants to help potential workers reskill. It also urges the DVSA to maintain its fast-track programme in order to catch up with the 30,000 driving tests that were postponed between March and December 2020 due to Covid restrictions.

The chief executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) Richard Burnett has also called on the government to take action, and warned that the crisis will hit the consumer, with the price of goods in shops set to rise. It is estimated that 60,000 new recruits are needed to ease the shortage.

Burnett has written to the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps, telling him to take more action to boost recruitment into the industry. He has asked for HGV drivers to be included on the Shortage Occupation List, making it easier for drivers from abroad to live and work in the UK.