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Government Introduces Support Package To Help Haulage Industry

The government has pledged to bring in a package of measures to encourage more drivers to enter the road haulage profession.

In an open letter addressed to the road haulage profession, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps pledged to do more to help attract new drivers, incentivise people to continue working in the industry and simplify training to ensure people can get access to haulage equipment as soon as they are ready.

These measures include streamlining the HGV license examination so that only one test is required to drive either an articulated or rigid lorry, helping to boost test availability beyond the 1,500 drivers who pass their test every week.

A consultation has been launched to garner feedback from the profession on this, a provision to allow trainers to examine drivers during the off-road manoeuvres part of the examination, and whether car and trailer tests should be a required element.

Mr Shapps and other ministers are interested in the idea of a Year of Logistics, which would help boost the profile of the sector and look at ways to attract people into the industry.

The Department for Work and Pensions have also proposed a driver training pilot scheme that would allow job-seekers to access training that could help them enter the profession.

As well as this, Mr Shapps claimed that the government is aiming to help improve driver working conditions, which has been cited in recent months as a particular challenge to driver retention and encouraging new drivers into the industry.

However, outside of designating more official parking spots for hauliers and consulting on how to improve the conditions in lorry parks, how these improvements will manifest is as yet unclear.

Given that the government also announced a temporary lifting of drivers’ hours regulations, solid proposals to help improve the number of drivers and the conditions they face will be vital to ensure that critical infrastructure is not interrupted.

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