HGV driver shortages could push food prices up, says RHA
There are 16,000 fewer lorry drivers in the UK now than there were at the start of 2021 – tipping the road haulage sector into crisis. The RHA has asked the government to take urgent action.
The situation has potential to hold up supplies, and force food prices up.
The RHA (Road Haulage Association) driver shortage data was featured on BBC Newsnight, as the programme investigated the UK’s ongoing HGV driver shortage.
The RHA presented the programme with a wealth of information which cast a harsh light on the full extent of the driver shortage in the UK.
The information supplied showed that:
- 95% of everything we consume in the UK is moved by lorry
- There are 16,000 fewer lorry drivers in the UK now than there were at the start of 2021
- 30,000 HGV driver tests were cancelled in the last year, due to Covid-19
- 40 of Britain’s biggest haulage firms have a total of 3,654 vacancies
- This works out at 91 vacancies per haulier
- Small and medium haulage firms have at least 2,573 vacancies
- That works out to at least 4 vacancies per haulier
- 58% of the haulage industry said that driver shortages were due to Brexit
The shortage has been made worse by the ending of the Brexit transition period, which saw changes to the way goods move between the UK and EU, including approximately 15,000 EU lorry drivers returning home to mainland Europe.
“The full effects of the shortage had been masked by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw a downturn in demand for haulage from many sectors” the RHA stated.
“However, with all parts of the UK economy ramping back up as restrictions are eased and the vaccine rollout progresses, the crippling lack of fully trained truck drivers is truly starting to show.
“There are also concerns within the industry that the lack of HGV drivers will increase the price of haulage, which will in turn be passed on to the consumer with an increase in the price of goods in supermarkets and other businesses.
Rob Hollyman of Youngs Transport and Freight also spoke out on BBC Newsnight last night, saying: “It’s a very, very dangerous situation.”
He also told the BBC that ultimately, we could see the driver shortage “having a very detrimental effect on pricing structures within supermarkets and the like”.