Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Road Haulage and Freight Transport Representatives Seek Help on Driver Crisis

Government Meeting Targets Funding for Assistance
Shipping News Feature

UK – The meeting arranged between Treasury officials and representatives of Britain’s logistics industry took place as scheduled last Friday (February 20) when a team of eight staff and members from the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and Road Haulage Association (RHA) met senior policy officials from the Treasury and the Department for Transport, ahead of the Budget on 18 March.

The government team faced a group completely united and determined to wrest some help from the powers that be to address the HGV driver shortage facing the industry, and the call was for financial assistance for haulage operators to help fund the cost of getting new lorry drivers licensed and qualified to drive and make the profession a more realistic aspiration for younger people. This included a discussion on how a student loan-type arrangement might play a role in the long term task of making the job more accessible. In a joint statement, FTA and RHA said:

“The Treasury got the clear message that the road transport industry is now facing an unprecedented situation which needs urgent government intervention and that an immediate cash injection is vital if the impact on the UK economy is to be minimised. Grants to road transport operators would have a fast and beneficial effect on the number of new drivers trained and would help fill the current 45,000 driver shortfall.

“We set out a framework for how these systems would work. They would be nationwide, straight forward, accessible and time-limited in view of discussions between the industry and government over apprenticeship funding from 2017.

“In the meantime, the Chancellor has an opportunity in his Budget to reverse a damaging driver shortage and help drive positive change in the industry.”

Photo: The group of FTA and RHA representatives pose outside the Treasury.