HGV drivers should be part of the government’s UK Shortage Occupation List, according to the RHA.

The association has urged ministers to add drivers to the list in order to combat the industry’s driver shortage issue.

In addition, Richard Burnett, RHA’s chief executive, has told the transport secretary that the government needs to help.

Specifically, recruiting new talent is a particular issue, with the driver shortage currently exceeding 60,000 people.

Burnett stressed that hauliers are struggling to get access to Apprenticeship Levy money to fund training. 

Furthermore, the shutdown of vocational driving tests last year saw a loss of more than 30,000 test slots. 

Meanwhile, new IR35 tax rules have meant some operators have had to cancel deliveries because they can’t get agency drivers.

Burnett has written a letter to Shapps, stating the industry is facing a ‘a perfect storm’. 

Therefore, he warned the HGV driver shortage will hit supply chains and affect the Government’s ‘build back better’ agenda.

“If we do not do something soon the industry will be unable to maintain the integrated supply chains,” he warned. 

The chief executive also argued hauliers would struggle to cope with artificial spikes caused by hot weather and the easing of lockdown. 

He argued easing rules to allow HGV drivers from abroad to live and work in the UK would help in the short term. 

However, he warned against relaxing drivers hours amid concerns that truckers are already working to their limits. 

“We really need to consider the impact of HGV driver mental health and of course road safety,” he said.

In the letter, ministers were urged help the industry resolve the driver shortage in the longer term.

Concluding, Burnett said “We must work collectively and towards a sustainable way to recruit and train a homegrown workforce”