Newsnight: RHA data paints a stark image of the driver shortage

We have supplied data to BBC Newsnight, which has shown the severity of the HGV driver shortage in the UK, and the urgent need for action from the Government

Josh Reynolds

Josh Reynolds | 22nd June 2021 5:09 PM

Our driver shortage data was featured on BBC Newsnight last night (21 June), as the programme investigated the UK’s ongoing HGV driver shortage.

We presented the programme with a wealth of information which cast a harsh light on the full extent of the driver shortage in the UK.

The information which we supplied showed that:
• 95% of everything we consume in the UK is moved by lorry
• There are 16,000 fewer lorry drivers in the UK now than there were at the start of 2021
• 30,000 HGV driver tests were cancelled in the last year, due to Covid-19
• 40 of Britains biggest haulage firms have a total of 3,654 vacancies
• This works out at 91 vacancies per haulier
• Small and medium haulage firms have at least 2,573 vacancies
• That works out to at least 4 vacancies per haulier
• 58% of the haulage industry said that driver shortages were due to Brexit

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The shortage has been made worse by the ending of the Brexit transition period, which saw changes to the way goods move between the UK and EU, including approximately 15,000 EU lorry drivers returning home to mainland Europe. The full effects of the shortage had been masked by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw a downturn in demand for haulage from many sectors.

However, with all parts of the UK economy ramping back up as restrictions are eased and the vaccine rollout progresses, the crippling lack of fully trained truck drivers is truly starting to show.

There are also concerns within the industry that the lack of HGV drivers will increase the price of haulage, which will in turn be passed on to the consumer with an increase in the price of goods in supermarkets and other businesses.

Rob Hollyman of Youngs Transport and Freight also spoke out on BBC Newsnight last night, saying: “It’s a very, very dangerous situation.”

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He also told the BBC that ultimately, we could see the driver shortage “having a very detrimental effect on pricing structures within supermarkets and the like”.

Our 12 point plan
We have presented the Government with a 12 point list of actions which they must take in order to tackle the UK’s HGV driver shortage. These points are:

  1. Include HGV drivers on Government’s Skilled Worker Shortage Occupation List
  2. Coronavirus recovery – a seasonal visa scheme for qualified HGV drivers
  3. Continued priority driving tests for HGV drivers
  4. Establish a ‘Return to HGV Driving’ scheme
  5. Better promotion of the job and the sector as a whole
  6. Apprenticeship funding gap for C+E drivers in England and Wales
  7. Apprenticeships for Class C drivers
  8. An SME-focused HGV driver training scheme
  9. An independent HGV independent training loan scheme
  10. Other training schemes – DWP pilots/Road to Logistics
  11. Increase productivity of the road network
  12. Improve site productivity and the treatment of drivers at collection and delivery points

What you can do to help tackle the driver shortage
First, complete this very short and focused survey to show us how the shortage of drivers is impacting your business.

All information collected will be kept confidential, and used to provide an overview of the industry and not that of individual companies.

Increase pressure on Government by using this quick and easy tool to request your local MP to write to Government and support these asks.
A letter has already been written for you, all you need to do is enter a few brief details and the letter will be sent immediately on your behalf.

Your insights will be invaluable as we continue to apply pressure to the Government to act over the HGV driver shortage.