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UK Driver Shortage Post-Brexit Affects Trade

Almost a third of UK logistics firms had stated they expect a shortage of drivers this year, and one in ten say that recruitment issues pose an ‘extreme barrier’ to the economic recovery of their businesses from the pandemic.

Industry lobbyists Logistics UK have called upon the government to provide interest-free loans or grants to train more drivers to fill logistics and haulage jobs, which has become of the labour shortfalls that have emerged due to border friction following Brexit, reports Bloomberg.

Data has shown that 110 trained drivers claimed unemployment benefits in January this year, which is down by 27 per cent from January 2020, and figures from job search engine Adzuna have revealed that online advertisements for transport, logistics, and warehousing jobs in February were up by 15 per cent on 2020 figures.

Logistics UK’s report adds to the evidence presented by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) to the transport secretary Grant Shapps recently, that warned that many drivers returned to their countries of origin during the pandemic, due to lockdowns. The vast majority of them are not expected to return due to stricter visa rules following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed on Thursday 20 May that the government would be increasing apprenticeship funding for drivers of large goods vehicles from 1 July.

Richard Burnett, chief executive of the RHA, said the industry still needed immediate help as demand for goods rises as lockdown restrictions lift, warning that the cost of distribution for manufacturers and retailers is likely to increase, calling on the UK Home Office to make it easier for haulage companies to recruit drivers from overseas.

 

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