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According to the Road Haulage Association (RHA), there is a shortfall of over 100,000 HGV drivers here in the UK. Before the pandemic started it was estimated that there was already a shortfall of more than 60,000 HGV drivers.
Apparently, there are a number of reasons for this shortfall including many thousands of drivers from EU member states who lived and worked in the UK who, because of the pandemic and Brexit uncertainty, left the UK to return to their country of birth. Also, with the average age of an HGV driver being 55, many have retired or found alternative employment. Due to COVID-19, 25,000 fewer people in 2020 passed the training to become HGV drivers than in 2019. The introduction of IR35 has also had an impact upon the number of HGV drivers.
Last month the above association wrote to the Prime Minister about the matter expressing concern about the shortage of HGV drivers and the impact this would have on critical supply chains and seeking assistance. The association suggested a number of things including access to EEA and EU workers, find a way of recruiting and training workers from the UK and to re-establish the DEFRA Food Resilience Industry Forum.
The above association has apparently come up with a 12 point action plan that has been presented to the government. It has also met with Baroness Vere who is the Roads Minister.
Perhaps the above will create job opportunities for a number of people who lost their job in the pandemic and would consider training to become an HGV driver here in the UK. There will also no doubt be opportunities for people wanting to become courier drivers here in the UK who are currently out of work.
It will be interesting to see how things progress in the short term. We will endeavor to continue to keep our readers updated with any developments in respect of the above.