How serious is the HGV Drivers Shortage?

The current shortage of HGV Drivers is estimated to be around 100.000, an increase of 40,000 from pre-pandemic. The suppliers relied heavily on European drivers to fill in the gap. 

With the combined effects of COVID and Britain leaving the European Union many drivers left for their home countries and very few decided to come back.

 An additional layer of bureaucracy means that it’s not efficient or viable for foreign drivers to drive to and around the UK.

Impact on Businesses

Retail and Hospitality businesses were hit the hardest. Morrisons states that the shortage will most likely increase prices of basic goods, while hospitality chains are running out of beer and often need to close their doors due to severe disruption of the supply chain.

The construction sector reported issues with cement and timber supply, slowing down projects and increasing costs.

Many petrol stations are also running out of fuel. This was caused indirectly by the supply issues, but also by the widespread panic and mass buying in the country.

empty shelves

Is government too slow to respond?

The Government decided to create a temporary visa scheme, allowing foreign drivers to work in the UK and relieve the shortage until other measures will be in effect.

 It is understood that 5.000 visas for foreign drivers will be issued. The visas will last until Christmas Eve. 

While the Government hopes that higher wages will attract foreign drivers to come back, many companies are skeptical. 

The short-term visa arrangement might make it unattractive to established EU drivers who would not risk their current employment. Many people in the industry call the visa extension ‘a plaster over a gaping wound’ and claim that the Government acted too little too late for the scheme to have an impact on Christmas demand.

Are you a driver interested in joining one of our partner businesses in Lancashire and North-West?

Give us a call at 01524 840622 or visit our vacancies page.

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