British ministers are looking to shorten the current process to bring in new hauliers. The government said it was continuing to meet with groups, affected by the logistics crisis and that any policy change would be announced in due course. The proposal could include combining two tests, one for rigid lorries and another for articulated lorries. Prospective drivers usually have to wait between two and three weeks between the tests under current rules. The Department for Transport has been contacted for confirmation.
Industry experts welcomed the move, but said it would not be enough to fix the problem. Paul Jackson of Chiltern Distribution joined calls for lorry drivers to be added to the Shortage Occupation List, to allow firms to bring back some of the estimated 20,000 EU drivers who have left.
“We don't put newly qualified drivers straight behind the wheel on their own. We buddy them up with experienced drivers for the first 8-10 weeks and the insurance costs for new drivers are also much higher,” he told fpcfreshtalkdaily.co.uk. “We desperately need to put HGV drivers on the list of skilled workers we can bring in from abroad.”
There is an estimated shortage of 70,000-100,000 hauliers in the UK, a huge percentage of the 600,000 estimated by the Road Haulage Association to have been working in the UK before the pandemic.
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