North West companies worried over HGV Driver shortage

It seems that a combination of Covid, Brexit and other factors means there currently aren't enough drivers to meet rising demand.

Rob Hollyman, director of North West Cargo Ltd in Warrington said: "Overseas drivers would come over and under EU regulations, be able to work here. When Brexit came about, a lot were worried about their future so a lot of them went home."

The pandemic has meant that there's a huge backlog of people waiting to enter the industry but can't because the waiting time for an HGV test has increased.

The DVSA, who conduct the tests, were shut for large parts of the pandemic and now a driver will have to wait until next year for a test.

Rachel Scanlin-Davis runs the Transport Training Academy in Atherton. Trainee drivers who want to get tested with her company will have to wait until the next year to get a test.

She said: "Now all of a sudden we've got a backlog in the pipeline and the DVSA are struggling to keep up with the demand."

The government have tried to alleviate the problem by allowing HGV drivers to extend their working hours. But many, like lorry driver Ian Yates, think that's a dangerous move as he believes drivers will become overtired, which could lead to accidents.

A Government spokesperson said: "Employers should invest in our domestic workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad. We're ramping up vocational test capacity, and funding apprenticeships.  

"Most of the solutions are likely to be driven by industry, with progress already being made in testing and hiring, and a big push towards improving pay, working conditions and diversity."

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