The RHA has confirmed it will be meeting with the Treasury next Friday (20 Feb) to thrash out the potential of direct funding for road haulage employers wanting to train new HGV drivers.

A meeting last month with business secretary Vince Cable saw RHA chief executive Richard Burnett (pictured) highlight the enormity of the HGV driver shortage crisis affecting the logistics sector, which was taken “very seriously” by the minister, who acknowledged here was an issue.

The RHA will be asking the Treasury for funding of £3,000 per person to be made available and paid directly to operators looking to train up new drivers.

Burnett added: “We need to break the pattern that has seen the UK under-invest in HGV driving skills and become far too reliant on drivers from Eastern Europe. These critical factors that have resulted in the current shortage of drivers and, if not urgently addressed, will cause a bad situation to get much worse.

“If the issue is not urgently addressed, within 12 months, the 45,000 driver shortfall we are currently experiencing will increase to 60,000. The bottom line is that if the UK doesn’t have enough people able to drive the trucks that keep the economy moving, the economy will not be going anywhere.”

The government last week dismissed the option of extending the exisiting student loans system to trainee drivers, discussed as a possible funding route in a recent All-Party Parliamentary Group on Freight Transport report.