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HGV Drivers Push For Government Funding

With the election just months away, the recent budget was largely anticipated by many in the driving sector. Driver shortages have been well documented and with a growing demand amongst the freight industry, we are keen to see the Government’s support to help alleviate the issue.

The figures speak for themselves as in this year alone, it is now expected that there will be a demand for approximately 45,000-60,000 professionals drivers to supply goods across the country.

So where did this shortage of drivers come from?

HGV drivers are now required to carry out a compulsory test which will award them with a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) once completed. The new test takes 35 hours to complete and could costs the individual £500.

However, failure to complete the training will result in a £1000 penalty. It’s estimated that this alone has already motivated more than 20,000 drivers to quit or take early retirement. This figure has put pressure on the industry, as without enough HGV drivers, our retailers and other businesses could potentially have ‘empty shelves’ leaving customers short of vital supplies.

To help reduce this pressure, the Road Haulage Association and the Freight Transport Association are pushing for the Government to offer funding that will provide training for a new generation of HGV drivers, with a specific focus on getting more women into the industry.

There is also a push to train younger drivers, particularly as recent research found the average age of a HGV driver is 53, much older than most industries. Only 2% of HGV drivers are under 25, while 13% are over 60 years old. The industry has asked for £150 million worth of training for thousands of drivers, urging the Government to act now before the shortage hits and affects the UK’s supply system.

As a compromise the Government has promised to review the speed at which driving and medical tests take place for HGV drivers and will consider how they can speed up this process. Funding support for the training will also be looked into, however this is not guaranteed.

At Drivers Direct we understand the need for more drivers and work with hundreds of clients across the UK to supply qualified drivers to meet their needs. As the freight industry continues to develop and the pressure on deliveries continues, we intend to continue to supply the best drivers, and provide training through our 21 branches. HGV driving can be rewarding and enjoyable career choice with the right training and support.

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