Newly released HGV test pass figures contain some good news, but also underline just how deep a pit road haulage now finds itself in in when it comes to attracting new drivers.

Following the body blow that there will be no HGV Driver Training Fund - certainly for now - and no driver apprenticeship past 2017, The Hub took a look at the lastest HGV licence test figures.

First the good news: The figures are up on last year’s, which were themselves up (although the trend over the past decade remains a significant downward slide).

According to DVSA, a total of 50,885 category C and C+E tests were taken in the year to 31 May 2015, an increase of 13% on 44,937 a year earlier.

Consistent with the long-term average, just over half of tests taken are passed.

In the most recent period this was 27,631 (category C and C+E combined), an increase of almost 16% on 2014’s 23,905.

However, as recently as 2008/09, road transport could rely on 86,826 annual tests (both C and C+E) being taken, with 39,220 passes.

So there's huge work left to be done and based on the past week or so, operators will have to get on with it themselves if they want to attract a new generation of HGV drivers.