Transport industry leaders have called for an immediate cash injection from the Treasury to head off a 45,000 driver shortfall ahead of the chancellor’s 18 March budget.
Officials from the Freight Transport Association and Road Haulage Association met with senior policy officials from the Treasury to press the case for new government funding. The money being sought would be put towards getting new lorry drivers licensed and qualified.
In a joint statement, the FTA and RHA said that the road transport industry is facing an unprecedented situation requiring urgent government intervention.
“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, straightforward, accessible and time-limited in view of discussions between the industry and government over apprenticeship funding from 2017.”
During discussion, RHA and FTA officials pushed the benefits that a student loan-type arrangement could provide.
“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.”