18/06/2015

Recruiters and haulage chiefs urge government to take action as the driver shortage threatens economic recovery in every region of the UK

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) will deliver an urgent plea to the Prime Minister today demanding government intervention to help with the chronic truck driver shortage, which is having a profound effect on the UK’s supply chain and which threatens to slow the UK economic recovery.

There is a national truck driver shortage, estimated to be in the region of 45,000 thousand and with over 35,000 thousand existing drivers due to retire in the next two years, the situation is deteriorating fast.

There are numerous reports of the driver shortage leading to operators turning work away, having to park up trucks and cancelling orders for new trucks.

Locally, Mark Neilson, owner of leading logistics recruiter Aligrasaid: “We’ve gone full circle over the last ten years but we’ve been here before, then the industry shortages where resolved when Polish drivers came to the UK.  With the industry continuing to grow and fewer new drivers joining the workforce I can’t see any solutions in the short term and agree with the FTA that the government should commit to investment in future budgets”.

Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett said: “The RHA represents UK hauliers who, between them, operate over 100,000 heavy goods vehicles. Our members, quite literally, move the UK economy. We are now facing an unprecedented and critical shortage of qualified truck drivers – currently estimated to be in the order of 45,000 across the country. Current retirement levels and low levels of new entrants to the industry are creating a perfect storm.

“The cost of training to be a truck driver is very high – typically some £3,000. This is a serious barrier for individuals wishing to train up. Margins in the small and medium sized haulage companies that make up the bulk of our industry are very tight and this limits their capacity to fund the required training.

Mark continued: “We regularly hear of numerous logistics businesses having had to turn away work as they have been able to source the drivers for their vehicles, and that can’t be good for the economy.

“To keep the economic recovery on track, the government needs to act, and act fast. We are urging the Prime Minister and Chancellor to invest £150m in driver training in the July budget.

“UK hauliers move the economy. This driver shortage threatens to slow the economic recovery.”

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