RHA urges Prime Minister to address driver shortage threat in July budget

Inset: Richard Burnett

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) is today contacting David Cameron to call for government action to help tackle the national driver shortage issue, which is having a major impact on the UK’s supply chain and threatens to have a negative impact on the economic recovery.

RHA estimates that the shortage is currently in the region of 45,000, and the situation is further exacerbated with more than 35,000 existing drivers due to retire in the next two years.  It is a problem that is impacting on every region in the UK.

The Association is also concerned by the numerous reports that the driver shortage is leading to operators turning work away, having to park up trucks and cancelling orders for new trucks.

RHA’s chief executive, Richard Burnett, said: “The RHA represents UK hauliers which, between them, operate over 100,000 heavy goods vehicles.  Our members, quite literally, move the UK economy.

“We are now facing an unprecedented and critical shortage of qualified truck drivers – currently estimated to be in the order of 45,000 across the country.  Current retirement levels and low levels of new entrants to the industry are creating a perfect storm.

“The cost of training to be a truck driver is very high – typically some £3,000.  This is a serious barrier to individuals wishing to train up.  Margins in the small and medium sized haulage companies that make up the bulk of our industry are very tight and this limits their capacity to fund the required training.

“To keep the economic recovery on track, the government needs to act, and act fast.  We are urging the Prime Minister and Chancellor to invest £150 million in driver training in the July budget.  UK hauliers move the economy.  This driver shortage threatens to slow the economic recovery.”