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Remoaner argument crushed as number of EU lorry drivers in Britain 'rises by 22 percent'

Driver Require Think Tank's latest Bulletin on the HGV driver shortage featured in The Express

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  • Remoaner argument crushed as number of EU lorry drivers in Britain 'rises by 22 percent'

Written by

Claire Smith

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A REMOANER argument blaming Brexit for the lorry driver shortage has been dented as new figures suggest more than 5,000 EU nationals living in the UK joined the haulage industry in the three months to September.

Brexit group Facts4EU highlighted a study by haulage industry think-tank Driver Require which analysed the Office for National Statistics (ONS) latest employment survey. It found between July and September, 5,354 EU nationals became HGV drivers in the UK.

The figure represents a spike of 22 percent compared to the last three-month period, Facts4EU suggests, indicating Britain can rely on the domestic labour market despite the claims of Brexit-bashers.

The overall number of UK lorry drivers has increased by 28,000 (12 percent) to 261,000 in the third quarter of 2021, according to the ONS Labour Force Survey.

The number of HGV drivers in the UK has been in a steady decline and was exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Many EU nationals left the UK during the first wave of the pandemic in March 2020 - and some did not return or faced issues with Covid travel restrictions.

In the autumn, the UK and most of mainland Europe was rocked by supply issues - and a shortage of hauliers – suggesting the issue could not be blamed solely on Brexit.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) previously estimated there was 100,000 vacancies in the UK.

Supply chain bottlenecks emerged at major ports around the world and resulted in the shipments of vital goods being delayed.

A full blown crisis emerged in September and resulted in panic-buying of petrol and UK supermarket shelves being stripped bare.

The Government put forward a series of measures to ease the shortage of drivers, including increasing testing capacity at HGV sites and offering visas to EU nationals.

The RHA now estimates the number of vacancies is down to 80,000.

On Friday, the first intensive courses for trainee HGV drivers got underway in London.

The Government increased funding for its HGV Skills Bootcamps from £17million to £34million, and the number of places from 5,000 to 11,000.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "The Government has worked tirelessly to tackle the driver shortage caused by coronavirus and years of undervalued wages.

"We have now introduced 32 actions to help get more HGV drivers on the road.

"It is good to see that these measures are clearly working, with the haulage industry reporting a significant increase in tests carried out and licenses issued.

"Now these training camps will provide a further boost for the sector as we work together towards its recovery."

Read the full article in The Express

Monday 13th December 2021

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