// As driver shortages continue, the government is considering moving up a review of its Shortage of Occupation list
// Home Office officials are said to be blocking the review over concerns it could lead to other sectors demanding inclusion
To address the issue of HGV driver shortages, the government is considering moving up a review of its Shortage of Occupation list, PA news reports.
Following an exodus of drivers from EU countries who returned to their home countries amid the pandemic and stayed, supermarkets and suppliers are failing to meet demand.
This is coupled with the health crisis bringing DVLA testing centres to a standstill, creating a huge backlog of drivers taking their HGV test.
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A review of the Shortage of Occupation list, which sets out jobs where overseas workers can apply for visas, is not due until next year.
But PA understands proposals have been floated for bringing forward the review so HGV drivers can be included to ease the problems facing the supply chain.
Several Government departments are liaising over the supply chain issues, including the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department, the Home Office, the Department for Transport, the Department for Education, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department for Work and Pensions.
Home Office officials are said to be blocking the review being brought forward amid concerns it could lead to other sectors demanding inclusion.
HGV drivers are currently not included on the list but there is pressure from supermarkets to include them to help ease the shortfall whilst more UK drivers are trained.
The current average age of a UK HGV driver is 55 and ministers are concerned an aging workforce needs replacing.
Government officials are working closely with the DVLA to increase the number of tests taking place and have vowed to streamline the process.
They have also increased funding for apprentices to get more workers into the industry but want to ensure the UK is less reliant on overseas drivers.
Some drivers have already staged strike action because their pay has not risen whilst other colleagues have seen increases.
Retailers and suppliers have also been incentivising drivers with signing-on bonuses, including at Amazon, Tesco and Marks & Spencer as they suffer from shortages.
with PA Wires