The RHA is calling for urgent Government action to ease a growing crisis in driver shortages ~ made worse by the introduction of IR35 tax changes. Pallet firms in particular are having to extend-next day deliveries by up to five days.

The situation was critical even before the pandemic with many EU truckers heading home for obvious Brexit-related reasons.  Add to that the complete failure to test new drivers during lockdown which left a backlog of thousands of tests – and potential drivers sidelined.
Covid-19 saw the introduction of IR35 delayed by one year but it’s now hitting many firms and drivers.

No-one likes a pay cut and drivers’ anger resulted in walkouts and self-furloughing – further exacerbating the driver shortage.
The RHA is calling on the Government to act:

  • Driving tests – we are arguing for greater maximum priority for vocational drivers to clear the backlog.
  • RHA’s Road to Logistics recruitment and training programme and programmes like KickStart are vital to get new blood into the industry. Hundreds of would-be lorry drivers are desperate to work but the test delays means they can’t get their all-important HGV licenses.
  • Occupation Shortage List. We are insisting that Government puts lorry drivers on the list, thereby allowing EU and other foreign drivers to fill some rota gaps – there is also a massive driver shortage in the EU.
  • Apprenticeships – we have paid £500m into the Levy and have got back just £50m – a very unfair payout for an industry with a critical staff and youth shortage.
  • We need more funding to pay for the expensive lorry training.
  • Driver facilities – we can’t expect people to want to join our industry if no toilets, wash facilities or safe and secure parking exists.
  • Drivers’ hours relaxations won’t help because they doesn’t deal with the fundamental underlying problems. Making people work longer hours isn’t the solution.

Rod McKenzie, RHA policy managing director said: “The RHA firmly believes that if voice of the industry isn’t heard there will be uncontrolled supply chain disruption. This will impact many businesses ability to recover from the pandemic.  Time is tight and action now is critically important”.

5 Comments

user image J Aston Transport Ltd

The main reason younger driver don’t keep up with the job is because they don’t want to be away from home in a small tin can without any basic facilities and the facilities provided by services and truck stops are a disgrace and not worth the money, also the amount of rules for the driver can be challenging and daunting to the younger, in my opinion we should look towards the American transport industry to fix our problems for example larger cabs for the driver to have a few more of the home comforts, larger truck stops to accommodate all the trucks with a price cap and auditing board to insure drivers are paying for what they get, and proper washing facilities that are free or at least on some for of point system like “loves” in the us. If the industry became an enjoyable one it would entice many more drivers

user image Allan Tray

I think the whole transport system needs looking in to
we do a lot of work out of Felixstowe and because the turnaround times are so poor we are constantly under pressure to meet impossible booking slots for so called BIG companies (for fear of having the load rejected because you’re late) this creates needless stress. Also better wages and parking would be a huge bonus. I feel flooding the industry with yet more foreign labour would not help the situation one bit

user image Robin

Not only do I agree with the comments above. To make things even worse Kent County Council, the gateway to England, or the gateway to Europe depending on which way your travelling are clamping any HGV in a layby having their legal daily rest. Aside from intermittent temporary road signs stating ‘No Stopping’ for vehicles over 5t. No layby has any notice displayed regarding clamping. Drivers have to pay the fine before being released, putting them behind on their day. The only reason they are in laybys is there is no where near enough parking facilities in Kent, despite the government giving money to the council to build an inadequate customs clearance depot at Ashford.
Just another reason why people are not coming into the industry, start your days work by paying a fine before you can earn any money.

user image Zomo

Transport industry is simply overtaxed and over regulated which have a big impact on the driver’s wages and building new businesses. O licence requirements are stupidly high, with corrupted traffic comisioners almost impossible for starting businesses to be satisfied. Big companies are never pulled over by dvsa, so dvsa hits small transport businesses and continental hgvs. Road standards, services, truck stops are in very poor conditions which with pay rates around £12ph puts drivers away from the industry. What’s the point of driving when similar rates are payed for cashier’s jobs in aldi?
Opening borders for immigrants ? Hahaha, sorry guys, that’s a dumbest idea ever created why ? The only immigrants who would be able to drive are european drivers, but they won’t come as thanks to brexit working in the UK isn’t profitable anymore, when they can earn samo or more in Germany which will always be closer to their motherlands. Bringing drivers from third world countries will change our roads to the third world country’s standards, which will reduce payrates even more blocking local residents from driving even more.
What is needed is
1. Deregulation
2. Tax reductions
3. Making highway code more HGV friendly .

user image ben karlow

I’ve retired after fifty years driving, in that time the only improvement I’ve seen is the vehicles.
Anyone entering the trade now would have to be mad or a masochist, or both.

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