Downing street

Leslie O'Brien, Matt Allen, Richard Burnett, Peter Eason and Steve Bowles deliver the petition to Number 10

The road transport industry will have to help itself, after its call to ‘help us, help you’ via a £150m HGV driver training fund was ignored in yesterday’s Emergency Budget.

Having led a delegation of hauliers to Downing Street last month, the RHA’s push for a training fund to help alleviate the chronic driver shortage, and in doing so boost productivity, was not rewarded.

Richard Burnett, chief executive of the RHA, said: “In his spring Budget George Osborne recognised the shortage of HGV drivers and pledged action to help.

“This Budget does nothing to help solve the crisis, despite strong representation from across the industry. He has even failed to support the structure put in place by the RHA and JobCentre Plus to get unemployed people into driving.

Burnett said that by the end of 2016 the industry is predicted to be some 60,000 drivers short.

“We are working hard to address the problem and we have a quality process in place for getting unemployed people work experience in the industry and if suitable, a route into full time employment.

“This scheme is called Driving Britain’s Future but this alone will not solve the problem.  We need specific targeted funding before it is too late.”

The Emergency Budget did bring with it confirmation that fuel duty would not be increased, this year at least.