The driver shortage is fast becoming biggest issue facing the road haulage industry, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett has warned.
Speaking ahead of chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, which is due on 3rd December, Burnett said: “There is a 45,000 driver shortage now, 35,000 drivers due to retire within the next year and only 17,000 drivers joining the industry. The average age of a driver is 57, and less than five per cent of the industry is under 25.
He called on Osborne to fund vocational licences for new drivers. “If the UK haulage sector is to stand any chance of remaining competitive with the rest of Europe, the Chancellor must make a commitment in his Autumn Statement to fund vocational licences for new drivers. The real cost of an LGV licence at £4-5k per individual, is a major barrier to entry.
Burnett first raised the issue of driver shortages in October. And returning to the theme, he said: “If something isn’t done immediately there could be a negative impact on the UK’s economy and empty shelves at Christmas.”