Logistics UK has welcomed the package of measures announced by the British government aimed at easing the HGV driver shortage.
The lack of drivers was particularly highlighted during the weekend of 25 September, when many UK petrol stations had to shut as a result of panic buying by motorists.
“The decision to grant 5,000 temporary HGV driver visas to help overcome the driver shortage crisis in the short term is a huge step forward in solving the disruption to supply chains we are seeing today; we are so pleased the government has listened to our calls and has made this bold decision to support the UK economy,” said Logistics UK policy director, Elizabeth de Jong.
“We are also pleased that, in addition to increasing DVSA HGV testing capacity, the government has listened to Logistics UK’s request for additional training support by providing funded courses to enable more people to qualify as HGV drivers. This, alongside the current apprenticeship standard is fantastic news for recruiting more talent into industry.
“Logistics UK is also delighted the DfT has agreed to jointly send nearly 1m letters to all drivers who currently hold an HGV driving licence, urging them to come back to the occupation. Conditions of employment and pay have been improving across the sector and, with fantastic opportunities available, now is the perfect time to consider returning to the industry.”
Addressing the decision to write to all drivers who currently hold an HGV licence, Roads Minister, Baroness Vere, added: “This is the perfect time for anyone thinking about re-joining our vital road haulage industry to do so, with a notable and much deserved rise in salaries available for drivers.
“We’re taking a range of steps to help industry address the driver shortage and we gladly join sector leaders in encouraging those who already hold an HGV licence to think about returning to a rewarding career as a professional driver.”
The Logistics association also noted following the announcement of the measures, it is “vital” the government looks to the medium and longer-term.
“We now look forward to working with government to address the longer-term causes of the HGV driver shortage, by helping industry to attract new British workers through measures such as the improvement of driver facilities,” said de Jong.
Logistics UK represents more than 7m people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.