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31st August 2020
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Hauliers warn of empty stores at Christmas as driver shortage bites
The desire by consumers to upgrade their appliances and refurbish their kitchens and bathrooms in time to impress Christmas guests may be thwarted this year, following a warning issued by the Road Haulage Association that consumers could face empty stores this Christmas as the chronic lack of truck drivers affecting their industry worsens.
To highlight the crisis, the RHA is undertaking intensive lobbying of MPs as part of its first ever National Lorry Week, which runs this week. The industry is also holding many events across the UK to draw attention to the problem.
"We are short of between 45,000 and 50,000 drivers and the situation is getting worse," warns RHA chief executive Richard Burnett. "Thousands of older drivers are leaving the industry and younger people can't afford the £3,000 it costs to get a truck licence.
"The government could help but won't. They should support a truck-driving apprenticeship but are refusing to do so; even though they are forcing the larger trucking firms to pay the new apprenticeship levy. As far as the RHA is concerned, that amounts to little more than just a tax on payroll. That's why we are holding RHA National Lorry Week to highlight the issue and pile pressure on the government.
"What young person can find £3,000 without some help? This shortage is grave and presents a real threat to Christmas and to economic growth."
Over 85% of everything bought in the UK is carried by a truck at some stage in the supply chain. The road freight industry and its associated warehousing operations employ over 2.2 million people and is a vital part of the UK economy.
Richard adds: "Our industry is the life blood of our economy. The government can and must do more to help with this driver shortage crisis. Its failure to do so is now posing a real threat to the UK's economic recovery."
30th October 2015