Grant Shapps introduces huge recruitment package to help HGV industry in Brexit boost

Brexit: Expert discusses shortage of haulage drivers

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The Transport Secretary took to Twitter to announce the Government is taking steps to combat the current HGV driver shortage. Ministers have pledged to work with industry leaders to attract new drivers, simplify training and encourage people to stay in the industry. The Government also outlined a series of measures to help tackle the current shortage, including simplifying tests and improving working conditions.

Announcing the news on Twitter, Mr Shapps wrote: “Today, @theresecoffey @DWP, George Eustice @DefraGovUK and I have written an open letter to the road haulage industry setting out a package of measures to help it tackle the HGV driver shortage.

“This Gov is listening & doing what we can to support during this challenging time.”

The letter thanks haulage workers for providing a “vital service” during the pandemic and said the Government is prioritising recruitment and retention within the industry.

The joint letter read: “The driver shortage is well documented and its impacts on the wider economy are becoming more evident.

“We know the challenges are serious and whilst it is for industry to lead, we are here to help.

“We have been urgently working across Government and with you on a package of measures to support recruitment and retention within the industry.”

The rest of the letter then outlines a number of actions the Government is taking to tackle the shortage.

Ministers said a new consultation would be drawn up on allowing drivers to take just one test to drive both an articulated and rigid lorry.

Such a move would streamline the process for new drivers to gain their HGV licence and would increase lorry test appointment availability. 

The Government said the consultation would ensure road safety is paramount and would ensure all drivers are supervised until fully qualified.

Ministers will also look into improving the working conditions of drivers, something that would be key to ensuring British workers forge a long career in the sector. 

The Government said they will work alongside industry bosses to support more official parking spaces for lorry drivers and look at ways to improve the standard of lorry parks.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is also to trying to encourage those who have already left the industry to re-join.

They are currently developing anew driver training pilot through Jobcentre Plus to bring job-seekers into the industry.

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