In recent weeks the UK has faced a shortage of goods being delivered due to the shortage of HGV drivers. The queues for fuel caused many frustrations and panic buying. The issues were not in the shortage of fuel but the delay in delivering the fuel. This has also been reflected in the Supermarkets and other retail shops, with a delay in goods being delivered. Consumers have felt the effects just within 6 months of having Brexited the EU.
As a direct consequence the Government has had to reconsider their position. On the 25 September 2021 the Government pledged that more support was in fact required and the lack of HGV Drivers had to be increased.
Some residents are concerned that the lack in HGV Drivers may mean not having ‘turkey’ on Christmas day. In good spirit the Government have announced the following:
- 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.
Having additional drivers means training and having tests available. The DVLA is supporting this and hopes to have more tests available. Fuel tank drivers will of course require more specialised training.
It is proposed that HGV Drivers from abroad of upto 5,000 could come to the UK for just 3 months to help. Though this may ease the pressure in the short term, more will need to be done on the long term. The Government are considering better pay and work conditions for HGV drivers.
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.”
Some good news, The Government will also provide funding for both medical and HGV licences for any adult who completes an HGV driving qualification accessed through the Adult Education Budget in academic year 2021/22. Previously, adults who took these qualifications had to pay for their own licences. This change will be backdated and applied to anyone who started one of these qualifications on or after August 1st 2021.