RHA chief executive Richard Burnett

RHA set for Treasury meeting over driver shortage funding

Following extensive lobbying on behalf of its members, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has welcomed an invitation from the Treasury to attend a meeting early next month to discuss the issue of funding for employers to train UK residents to drive in the haulage industry.

The Association has been continually pressing the government to address the problem as a matter of urgency.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “We are asking that funding of up to £3,000 per person be made available and paid directly to the thousands of hauliers who are currently desperate for drivers.  There have been suggestions that a loan system may be an option but we have told the government this would be a poor second best option.

“We need to break the pattern that has seen the UK under-invest in HGV driving skills and become far too reliant on drivers from Eastern Europe.  These critical factors that have resulted in the current shortage of drivers and, if not urgently addressed, will cause a bad situation to get much worse.

“The government has the perfect opportunity to lead transformational change in this vital industry in a way that will benefit the UK economy as a whole.

If the issue is not urgently addressed, within 12 months the 45,000 driver shortfall we are currently experiencing will increase to 60,000.  The bottom line is that if the UK doesn’t have enough people able to drive the trucks that keep the economy moving, the economy will not be going anywhere.”