The boss of haulage firm Moody Logistics has written to Transport Secretary asking for urgent action to tackle the huge shortage of qualified HGV drivers.
Caroline Moody is warning that the situation has reached crisis point and is pressing Grant Shapps to undertake an urgent review of the procedures surrounding HGV licensing and testing to create greater capacity and efficiencies within the system.
The family-run firm, which is based in Cramlington, Northumberland, recently recruited two driver apprentices to address the driver shortfall, estimated nationally at 59,000.
However, Caroline says the apprentice training process, which takes between 12 and 18 months, is being hampered by unnecessary delay.
She said: “The government can better support the logistics industry by speeding up the procedures around HGV licence applications and prioritising and creating more appointments for theory and driving tests.
“For example, we sent an application for a provisional HGV licence for one of our driver apprentices more than a month ago. We are still waiting.”
Her letter follows the launch of a campaign by the Road Haulage Association (RHA), which says the industry requires immediate access to the global labour market. It has called upon the Home Office to add HGV drivers to the UK Shortage Occupation List and consider a Seasonal or Temporary Visa scheme for qualified lorry drivers.
Caroline added: “Some areas of the country were traditionally more reliant on EU HGV drivers, which partly papered over the cracks.
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