The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has pressed chancellor George Osborne to reconsider making a training fund available for the industry, after hopes were dashed in the Autumn Statement last week.

In a letter to the chancellor, the RHA called for an urgent meeting: “Government is failing this industry and the economy and urgent action is needed from the Treasury.

“We support the chancellor’s objectives set in Autumn Statement – but the economy needs to have enough lorry drivers if he is going to deliver,” RHA chief executive Richard Burnett states in the correspondence.

The RHA has called for a time-limited training fund that hauliers can draw on to get new drivers through their HGV tests in the face of an estimated current  shortage of 45,000 drivers. “If the UK doesn’t have enough people able to drive the lorries that keep the economy moving, the economy will grind to a halt.”

The association fears that if no assistance is forthcoming, the driver shortage could climb to 60,000 within the year.