The Freight Transport Association and Road Haulage Association have both condemned government proposals on immigration, saying they would hit business.
In a white paper on immigration after the UK leaves the European Union, the government has suggested setting a minimum £30,000 salary threshold.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “The Government should be setting out an immigration policy based on what the country needs, not on arbitrary salary criteria.
“Many of the skilled jobs the economy relies on won’t meet the proposed threshold, leaving employers struggling to fill vacancies, and stunting economic growth.”
And Sally Gilson, head of skills campaigns at FTA, said: “Today’s white paper on immigration after Brexit ignores the very real needs and concerns of the logistics industry, which supports every facet of the UK economy.”
“With skills shortages already being experienced among many logistics careers, including HGV drivers (currently 52,000 short), warehouse workers and forklift operators. The loss of almost a quarter of a million European workers, currently employed in these logistics roles in the UK are no longer deemed “skilled” by the government could be catastrophic. Especially for a sector which relies on these people and their particular knowledge and abilities to keep shelves stocked, factories supplied and businesses able to access the materials they need.”
“To attract and retain new workers into the industry which keeps Britain trading, FTA is urging government to redirect unused apprenticeship levy funding, which cannot be accessed due to a lack of relevant apprenticeship standards, into meaningful training for those wishing to enter the sector but ineligible for traditional apprenticeship funding. Without this reallocation of funds, there will be insufficient staff to replace the European workers on which logistics depends.”