With the skills shortage a clear and present danger, Motortransport and The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport have today leant their support to the RHA's bid to secure backing for a training fund.

Eagle-eyed readers may well spot the below letter (in full here) in today editon of The Times newspaper, in support of the push. For an update on the trainign fund bid, see this Monday's edition of Motortransport (10 November).


Dear Sir,

The UK road transport and logistics sector faces a problem, which has the potential to become one of the most significant issues this industry has ever had to tackle; an acute shortage of truck drivers.

To illustrate the gravity of the situation, the RHA recently surveyed its members. The RHA’s membership includes 82 of the UK’s top 100 logistics providers and it operates over 35% of the UK’s goods-carrying vehicles over 18 tonnes GVW.  The survey revealed that 70% were currently suffering a shortage of drivers with almost 20% saying they expected to do so soon. Only 10% felt their business would not be affected. The survey drew a strong response from larger companies; typically those who tend to deliver to distribution centres as well as manufacturing and major retail outlets.

Collectively we need to act and we must do this now. Therefore, we are asking the chancellor, George Osborne, to announce a funding scheme as part of his Autumn Statement on 3 December. This will enable UK residents to gain their LGV driving licence and Driver CPC initial qualification. These targeted grants should be made available nationally for a limited period of two years, with a review after 12 months.

The scheme should be made available to logistics sector employers and should cut through the complex structure of local, and often inaccessible, initiatives already in place. After years of real hardship the economy is slowly improving. But it’s up to the road transport and logistics industry to ensure this momentum is maintained. Every MP in the country should be aware that our industry keeps the UK’s economy moving.

Ours is one of the UK’s most efficient and competitive industry sectors; if we are to maintain that efficiency and keep the UK supplied, it can only be achieved if we have the number of drivers needed to keep our vehicles on the road.

The key point is that this industry is desperate for drivers and unless urgent action is taken, shoppers could be facing empty shelves this Christmas; and will definitely be next Christmas if the government doesn't act.

It is imperative for the sake of the continued recovery of the UK economy and viability of the road haulage and logistics sector that the chancellor acknowledges and addresses this crucial issue in his Autumn Statement on 3 December.

Yours sincerely

Richard Burnett

Chief Executive, Road Haulage Association

Steve Agg

Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport

Steve Hobson

Editor, Motor Transport