Tuesday, April 16, 2019

MP Calls for Road Haulage Interests to Speak Up on Skills and Staff Shortage in Logistics

You Have Until 30 April to Directly Tell All Party Parliamentary Committee Your Views
Shipping News Feature
UK – Back in October last year, at a parliamentary reception held in the House of Commons by the Road Haulage Association (RHA), former transport minister Sir Michael Penning MP gave a promise that he would form an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to assist the transport lobby in matters essential to the carriage of freight by road, particularly the logistics industry wide shortage of suitable staff.

Unlike many of today’s Brexit crop of politicians Penning, almost uniquely qualified in that he has held ‘proper jobs’, not least of which saw him earn his HGV licence whilst serving with the British Army, stuck to his word, and now needs to hear how the skills shortage is affecting hauliers, and therefore the public and businesses they serve.

As Chair of the APPG Penning has called for evidence from operators as the Group aims to build a strong case to put pressure on the Government to reverse the trend which has seen firms struggling to recruit staff as the industry faces a growing shortage of drivers. A shortage which the RHA believes now stands at more than 55,000 and with the average age of a British HGV driver somewhere around 54 years old.

At the meeting last year Penning was critical of the government Apprenticeship Levy and the group also wants to see if the Transport Select Committee’s 2016 recommendations to tackle the shortage have made any difference to firms, and if they haven’t, what the Government and industry should be doing differently. Sir Mike Penning said:

“We need to fully understand the problem for hauliers of every size and from across the country. Only when we have gathered this information can we go to Government with a firm set of recommendations and expectations.”

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett feels this is an opportunity for the sector to get its voice heard in Parliament and called on hauliers to respond to the call for evidence and push for the Government to support the industry’s efforts to attract new talent, concluding:

“The skills shortage is getting worse. We need innovative solutions such as our Road to Logistics initiative backed by government to encourage more people into our industry.”

The APPG has already heard from a number of hauliers about the problems firms are facing including a reliance on EU workers exacerbated by Brexit, pay rates, low margins and the failing Apprenticeship Levy and you have the opportunity to have your say up to 30th April by answering 13 key questions using THIS LINK. The survey takes only 4 or 5 minutes.

Photo: Richard Burnett addressing the meeting in the Terrace Pavilion at the House of Commons in October where the idea of the APPG was first mooted by Sir Mike Penning.