Driver shortage could hold back growth

Driver shortage could hold back growth

The Government must take action to avert a "highly damaging" shortage in lorry drivers, according to two industry groups.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) and Road Haulage Association (RHA) released a joint statement saying the country is facing a growing shortage of skilled lorry drivers.

If the situation remains as it is, the shortage is likely to impact upon the service industry and the economy as a whole, holding back growth, the statement says.

The two groups have now met with officials at the Treasury to discuss what action can be taken. They want the Government to pay for the training of additional new lorry drivers. The two groups say the industry is already 45,000 drivers short. They anticipate that at least 40,000 drivers will leave the industry over the next two years but currently only 17,000 new drivers are being trained each year.

The meeting between the two groups and Chancellor George Osborne's department is aimed at seeing what can be done in the next two years before the national Trailblazer scheme arrives in two years.

The Trailblazer scheme is an apprenticeship funding scheme for new lorry drivers, but the FTA and RHA say by the time it arrives in September 2017, the shortage of drivers would have begun to affect the economy. The two groups have asked for a new funding scheme to bridge the gap until the Trailblazer scheme comes into effect.

They believe this would "address what is a highly damaging skills shortage" as well as reducing the country's reliance on drivers from overseas.

Copyright Press Association 2015