Transport Select Committee to investigate road haulage driver shortage

Rob Flello MP, a member of Parliament’s Transport Select Committee, has expressed delight after colleagues agreed to launch an investigation into skills and workforce planning in the road haulage sector.

He said the inquiry into the government’s response to concerns over the shortage of skilled drivers was “great news for those of us who’ve long demanded greater recognition for this industry.”

The Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, who is also Chairman of Parliament’s Freight Transport Group, added: “I’m really pleased my committee colleagues agreed to hold the government to account on this issue.

“It is vital that ministers find solutions – and find them quickly – if the road haulage industry’s long-term future is to be secured.  Failure to do so would be a grave dereliction of duty by the government.”

Mr Flello spoke as the 11-member cross-party committee announced the inquiry’s terms of reference and called for written evidence.  The deadline for submissions is Monday 19 October.

The Select Committee’s objective is to “investigate what action government has taken to address industry concerns about a lack of skilled drivers in the road haulage sector, and assess how effective the government’s response has been.”

Members said while they recognised the importance of other government departments’ policies on the topic, they would be particularly interested to receive evidence relating to Department for Transport policy on the following points:
• The extent to which statistics reflect the experience of road haulage companies regarding the shortage of a skilled workforce in the road haulage sector
• The role of government in supporting recruitment, and encouraging a diverse workforce, for the road haulage industry
• The role of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification in improving the professionalism and safety of drivers from the UK and abroad on UK roads
• Aspects of current government policy which may deter new entrants to the workforce e.g. proposals to ban daytime deliveries in cities
• The quality of daytime and overnight facilities for road freight drivers.

Mr Flello said: “With estimates suggesting the road haulage sector needs another 150,000 drivers by 2020, tackling these skills shortages should be at the top of ministers’ agenda.  They must get more drivers into training by helping them meet costs which, for the moment at least, are prohibitive.”

Written submissions for the inquiry should be sent via the Transport Committee inquiry page: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/