Concerns over the driver shortage and continuing growth in the economy could lead to above-inflation pay rises for 2015, the FTA has suggested.

FTA research analyst Bruce Goodhart told research undertaken by the association recently showed the driver shortage was “a major concern” among members and that after wage freezes in recent years, some firms were now having to offer above-inflation rises in pay.

“Where pay rises have been agreed, we are seeing above CPI inflation – probably on a par with RPI,” he said. “Driver wages have started to show signs of rising by 2.3% or a bit more.”

Continuing growth in the economy was also encouraging firms to reverse recent wage freezes, he said. “Now we’ve had seven quarters of sustained reasonable growth, I think things are swinging back in the other direction,” he said.

Concerns about driver availability “has got to be a consideration” in any pay awards, agreed RHA policy director Jack Semple - though he stopped short of any specific predictions until the RHA’s own pay survey is published.

Separately, Close Brothers Asset Finance recently suggested that pay rises would be “on the cards” for almost three quarters of SMEs in the transport sector in the next 12 months, after 76% of business owners more generally said they were optimistic about their prospects for the year ahead.

This week the industry's call for an HGV driver training fund fell on deaf ears in the chancellor's Autumn Statement.