Gov’t announces new plans to tackle lorry driver shortage

Ministers announce new plans to tackle lorry driver shortage
The logistics industry is facing an estimated shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers due to the Covid-19 pandemic and following Brexit.
// Gov’t to allow drivers to take one test to drive both articulated & rigid lorries
// Other measures include giving drivers more official parking spaces & boosting standards of lorry park
// It forms part of plans to tackle the lorry driver shortage in the UK, which is impacting retail

The government has unveiled plans to help tackle Britain’s mounting lorry driver crisis, including easing driver qualification requirements and improved working conditions.

Ministers announced a consultation to allow drivers to take one test to drive both articulated and rigid lorries as part of a package of measures.

The logistics industry, which retailers – especially grocers – rely on to transport goods to stores or warehouses, is facing an estimated shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers due to the Covid-19 pandemic and following Brexit.


In an open letter to the sector, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey and Environment Secretary George Eustice pledged to support recruitment and retention in the industry.

Other measures include giving drivers more official parking spaces and boosting standards of lorry parks to help encourage hauliers to stay in the sector.

However, the plans were criticised by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) for failing to address “critical” short-term issues in the sector.

It comes as retailers face increasing woes due to the driver shortage, which is causing delays and cost hikes across the grocery and delivery sector.

The ministers’ open letter hopes the plans for a single test will streamline the qualification process and boost lorry test appointment availability.

The consultation will also look at allowing trainers to examine drivers in the off-road manoeuvres part of the HGV driving test, and whether specific car and trailer tests should be required.

Almost 1500 HGV drivers are taking their test each week, but the government wants to increase this.

“I understand the challenges faced by drivers and operators right now and while longer-term solutions must be led first and foremost by industry leaders, today we are saying this government is here to help,” Schapps said.

“This set of measures will kickstart that help, easing pressure on the sector as we work together to attract new drivers, improve conditions and ensure the industry’s future is a prosperous one.”

However, the RHA said immediate action was needed.

“This is a step in the right direction long-term, but it doesn’t address the critical short-term issues we’re facing,” RHA boss Richard Burnett said.

“The problem is immediate, and we need to have access to drivers from overseas on short-term visas.”

The plans come after the government last week announced a temporary extension to lorry drivers’ hours to help ease the shortage.

Despite this, unions warned over safety issues, saying the move could increase the pressure to drive while tired.

with PA Wires

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  1. What a pile of crap. There’s no shortage of lorry drivers and so never was. It is just an government agenda to implement food shortage right after that government scam covid-flu plandemic that no-one believes it anymore. There’s been only a big problem with transportation industry and that is the salary. Put politician’s on minimum wage and you’ll see how quickly things gets change. The truth that is sooooo hard to face.

    • I think you have a point it’s down to money the industry needs to start paying descent wage, I know that agencies were only paying something like £7.50 to £9.00 an hour so what does one expects.
      It’s the same as hospitality staff chefs on 8.50 to £10.00 an hour then compare this with other trades there’s huge difference in salaries so what does one expect these industries needs to wake up up.and start paying decent money it’s a no-brainer.

    • I John just a question I’m a bus driver and was wondering about the supermarkets thing about £1.000 pound deal but do they pay to get you the hgv licence or not sorry to ask a stupid question

  2. John, are you totally demented? No driver shortage? Pandemic is a scam? Get your head out your ‘woke’ arse, the deaths are real (having lost dear friends) and so is the driver shortage having worked in the industry for 30 years, you only have to visit a haulier to see the trucks parked up with no drivers, the grocery industry is hit hardest because for too long the likes of tesco have been calling the shots and driven rates further and further down, also getting your hgv is one thing, keeping it another with the increased costs of drivers cpc etc

  3. Just right Gary Type. I work in the food distribution part of this industry. The shortage is very real. Many of the drivers are new with much to learn or badly trained with poor language skills and a very odd attitude to safety and professionalism.

    • Correct on all what you have said. Also to add to this driving these trucks around as we do isn’t an easy experience as it is. So are we really to believe it’s going to get better by handing out easier options to getting a licence. Most of my colleagues are over fifty. So what happens when we all retire. There’s no younger people wether male or female are going to want to do this. We work long hours, there’s no respect for us on the road. Money is poorly paid to us for what we are put through. Brexit closed the door on the younger drivers who are mostly European. I feel we are on a road to nowhere with this ever growing issue.

  4. Make better or at least free parking on service areas better rate of pay. Better than my company has offered us. We must have been the only haulage company delivering through the pandemic to have a pay cut. We are one of the biggest sandwich makers in the country and Cornish pastie makers to.

  5. OPENNICK M25 MOTORWAY is a pov extravaganza and it’s just down the road….

  6. The problem is the RHA want cheap foreign drivers who can work up to 15 hours a day 3 times a week And live in their trucks all week. It is a known fact their training is no where near what the uk standard is .look at the data on road accidents and Foreign drivers have the worst accidents on British roads. Also will bring down wages for uk drivers. This is a nonsense the problem is over regulation costs involved and being watched how you drive when you are on duty. Also lack of facilities for drivers and low wages brought about by cheap foreign the RHA needs to get the facts right and the government needs to give English drivers the recognition they deserve and get working standards to a decent standard.

    • Absolutely spot on what you say.RHA just wanting cheap Labour and lower standard of driving from EU drivers,I am retired now but we need better wages and better facilities and conditions for hgv drivers.treated like second hand citizens these lads and lassies keep our country going.look after them or more will leave.

  7. There wouldnt be a driver shortage if you wernt kept at RDC’s for ages and the parking for truck drivers were looked at properly
    The thing is alot of companys wont pay for parking yet they seem to forget when they go home they sleep in a nice house with toilet and shower and us as drivers are forced to sleep on industrial estates or at the side of a road
    The goverment need to look at stuff like this but they wont because they dont care
    Im glad they are now relaising that there is a so called driver shortage and that without us lorry drivers this country would be on its knees

    • Let’s be real Graham. Without us lorry drivers. Everyone would be walking around NAKED. Because everything moves by truck. Give us the respect and recognition we need to carry out the most important job in this country.

    • The CPC is an EU directive and is a waste of everyone’s time as it was “attendance only”
      As long as you were in the room, or in front of a computer screen, it didn’t matter if you partook as there is no exam.
      I cannot think of anything more dangerous than to allow someone whom has passed their test on a rigid vehicle automatically gain the ability to drive an articulated vehicle!!
      If they allow a C+E test to be taken without having first taken a cat C test, like it used to be, then,with certain safeguards, that makes more sense.
      I am an ex HGV driving instructor and I also delivered the CPC courses.

      • Your absolutely right mate, very dangerous and stupid, I have the class 1 license and I only drive class 2,when I did my class 1 license, the training in reversing was a joke, still can’t reverse in tight yards, there will be serious accidents everywhere

      • Of what quality. CPC does make sens under condition the program is lead professionally including practice. The same as ADR. Program require to train about using fire extinguisher for example on real fire spot. Nobody do it.
        Matt CPC instructor, did you trained your guys how to secure the cargo? Of course you did not because you were making business not the program. After all haulage companies need to train them again because they are not able to secure even a square pallet not saying about any kind of heavy industry equipment. That’s behind theirs imagination.

      • What would your opinion be on pcv drivers being given the right to drive 18 tonne vehicles if it would ease the shortage? Given that we can drive 15 meter coaches with 100 human lives on board and all the cpc, theory and practical tests are identical? It’s all money making bullshit!

  8. I won’t drive again as the drivers I share with constantly pull out in front of u carve u up taking braking space away and I must avoid 10-15 near misses a day through impatience.. I must get in front even if I get killed mentality.. drivers should be educated if the dangers they create

  9. The shortage of drivers is real and has been for the last 4 years I am 70 and been asked if I wanted to drive again but I have to renew my licence every year the super stores have been controlling the rates for years you can earn more money driving a fork lift without te responsibility that’s why the industry has the shortfall nobody wants to do it for low wage.

  10. Your right Doug.
    I used to drive HGV on delivery to supermarkets and retailers.
    I am 76 now and gave it up.
    Drivers are treated like rubbish, and the wages are pitiful for the responsibility of the vehicle and load, keeping to the tacho rules, etc etc. When the CPC came in, I thought that enough was enough. Time to retire.

  11. Let PCV drivers have at least a HGV class 2. I drive a 15m twin rear axle with a trailor and yet I have to take another test. Now that’s frustrating. Our industry has been hit so hard, alot of coach drivers would love to carry on working.

    • I agree but I think the argument put forward are the weight carrying capacities of HGV = 38T as opposed to a PCV = 15T.
      Nonsensical really as a rigid vehicle HGV is no where near it’s MGVW on test and the first time a newly qualified driver will experience the weight difference effect is when they drive a fully laden vehicle wether PCV or HGV.

      • Yep. I used to drive dockers and when fully laden they feel a lot different to when they’re empty. Generally 15 passengers adds a ton of weight so fully laden that’s 18 tons. Bus drivers are already used to the size and the weight so they’d probably be the best option safety wise, just upgrade the ones with 5 years experience rather than newbies though. You watch the bus depots empty out if they did that, wages on the buses are even worse…

    • Couldn’t have said it better. I’m in the same position and honestly driving a truck would be a lot less stressful and frankly less responsibility as nothing is worth more than the cargo we carry as pcv drivers. Fact.

  12. I can believe all these comments above
    Hasn’t anyone realised the problem lyes with the cpc
    There is an abundance of hgv licences out there 1step {medical} away from being able to work but 7 years ago the cpc was introduced at an astronomical rate to generate income with the proviso that it was safeguarding public interest by vetting all drivers
    Many drivers were told they had to pay themselves, many said no and found other work
    Now the government wants drivers back so are offering discounts to entice new drivers with no experience.. But the cpc which say they are, can be bought for a measly sum
    Whilst possible returning experienced current licence holders need to redo the cpc at full cost
    Not really a safeguarding issue is it?

  13. I worked at Tesco Doncaster distributor centre for twenty years plus, and what did Tescos do got rid of 180 good drivers to make way for our European friends and now they are complaining. As regards to the CPC i myself have a class 1 licence but need to renew my CPC but can’t afford it. All the big haulage companies though it was great to have an endless supply of class 1 drivers from Europe which from my personal experience where terrible.l really don’t know how they managed to get them ( the licence that is).If they had to take test here in the UK I’m pretty sure that a lot of them would not have passed the test.On a last note all and I mean all these companies have brought it on them selves they should have looked after the UK drivers better and then they would not have left the industry. Keep on trucking lads.

    • This only moves the problem I drive yellow busses taking kids to school if I started driving trucks who would do my job the answer is incentives better better okay an conditions and more would want to become hgv drivers

  14. It all comes down to better wagers
    Better work condition.
    Better company’s.
    Vosa dont help either.
    The dvla have over 70,000 registered hgv drivers on record that have left the industry. Instead of trying new drivers up under false hope. How about try and get the experienced drivers back in seats

  15. Hi guys interesting comments/debates, I nave been in the industry for 30 years and with outappearing pompous, I will give my verdict on what I believes wrong with drivers shortage.
    Differently, before Brexit vote, COVID and the ir35 being abolished, far to many Eastern European drivers keep uk drivers wages suppressed
    Night out money not changed within 3decades
    Getting out of bed, at silly o’clock(in my case 01..00) and expected to do 13/14/15 hour days
    Getting no recognition from the general public, haulage companies etc.
    I believe this is our time, to get better pay, terms and conditions if we unite as one, otherwise 6
    Months to a year, it will result back to the status quo

  16. I’m interested in hearing how they are going to run this combined test.
    So first class2 test then back to the yard and do the class 1?
    From my understanding the class 2 practical test currently is about an hour or so, then another hour on the the class 1 that’s potentially a 3 hour exam time give or take
    Doesn’t sound practical

  17. I used to work for Richard Burnett at Wincanton and believe me he doesn’t have the drivers best intentions at heart, he’s in with the all the hauliers who have imported cheap foreign labour which is why he’s banging on about it now, he is definitely NOT a friend of the British driver. Michael Lawrence explains this perfectly well and answer this, look at the fancy white leather chairs on Burnetts next interview with the BBC, whilst we shower in broken facilities…. RHA are a scam organisation

  18. I live just north of Dover in Kent. I am a retired school teacher, not a lorry driver so why do I care about the problem? We have just had our first taste of real difficulties. Last week our rubbish was not collected. We were told by the local council that the local firm who organises our collection, Veolia, was running short of drivers and, though they were trying to solve the problem, they had to admit there was a huge shortage of drivers. I immediately thought this was caused by Brexit but, quickly reading through these comments, you drivers supported Brexit and think you are being undercut by ‘Eastern Europeans’ who are dangerously unqualified compared to average British driver. You were also not supported by the government. And lastly, the Hauliers Association has been working with the big Supermarkets to keep your wages low. Are these observations of mine correct?

  19. I’m a bus driver and have had experience driving class 2 and 1 on private land for a previous company I worked for shunting vehicles and swapping trailers and I think pcv drivers could quite easily adapt to HGV

    • Ive held a psv 1 licence since 1977.Ive driven double deck coaches with trailer all over europe.Id love to drive a lorry as my coach firm hasn’t had any work for me for 18 months.No foreign tourists

  20. Why not remove the cod 102 of wagon and drag drivers it’s class 1 but restricted I passed in 84 in the forces but when I got out my license is CE with 102 restrictions

  21. CPC is a Euro farce. 102 an anomaly that was given to all old class 2 drivers regardless. Coach drivers should be allowed to drive rigids. What the hell happened was risk averse lunacy and money spinning. Took my test in 81, passed. Got shown how to do a dolly knot, got in lorry went up road. Learnt about extreme brake fade very quickly. Went to tippers, bloke explained about putting them on their side when tipping, went up road. All the above with crash boxes, revers boxes, twin splitters. The CPC was such a joke you could do the same module 5 times! Still got licence at 60, over my dead body will I sit in a classroom and be told how to do any of it, I already learnt through common sense an experience, so won’t drive again. Oh, BTW using the forces, no CPC there….

  22. Hey there I am an English citizen that holds HGV1+C AND E. I live in Denmark which isn’t to far from home. In response to the driver shortage I applied for 41 jobs to do my part in helping the shortage but I received 0 answers to those applications. Even recruitment offices have not replied. I have been an HGV1 operator since the age of 18, I am now 58 and still able to do my job with professional conduct. So if the shortage is real why has there been no response. Good luck England my heart is with you.


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