John Hayes MP, the minister for state at the DfT responsible for freight and logistics, has promised that he will be “much more radical” in building the status of the road transport sector as a vital part of the British economy.

Speaking at the launch of the RHA’s National Lorry Week in the Palace of Westminster, Hayes said: “I appreciate the value and significance of haulage.

“When we say we love the lorry,” he said, referring to the Love the Lorry National Lorry Week campaign slogan, ”We don’t just love them for their own sake. We love them because of the difference they make to our economy, the jobs they create; the difference they make to the businesses they furnish and support. The significance of which should not be underestimated, and under this government and this minister, will never be underestimated.”

Hayes also offered operators and industry associations the chance of an open meeting to discuss the major issues the industry faced, and ways to address them in conjunction with the United Kingdom leaving the EU.

“I am prepared to look at every kind of option," Hayes said. "I believe we need to be much more radical in how we build the status of this vital part of our economy. Let us quickly convene a meeting that allows us to explore these opportunities in a very open-minded way.”


John Hayes

John Hayes MP

Hayes also referenced the shortage of drivers in the labour market: "In my constituency there are a large number of businesses that employ EU nationals as drivers; they have done that because of supply and demand tensions; I appreciate that. Brexit will have implications for that.

"We do not know quite yet what implications they will be and that necessitates fresh thinking about recruitment, skilling and upskilling, bringing people into the industry from different sources.

"This catalyst of necessity means we will do more about bringing older people into the job, people with different social profiles into the job. Still too often we do not think about having women lorry drivers, but it can happen, it does happen and it will happen more.

"Similarly some of the underrepresented parts of our communities could be driving lorries. So let’s think about that as a team. Let government work with industry, through RHA and others and think about ways in which we can meet those challenges," he added.