The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has bemoaned the lack of support for the creation of new professional driver training schemes in the chancellor's latest Autumn Statement announcement.
As part of the new Spending Review, the chancellor pledged to continue investing in the nation's transport infrastructure over the coming years, but failed to address the need for additional funding towards attracting and training new professional drivers that logistics providers across the country are calling out for.
According to the RHA, an urgent £150 million cash injection is needed into the sector to fund enhanced driver training schemes in the months and years to come. The organisation argued that a failure to deliver this investment could have far-reaching implications for the whole economy in the future.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett stated: "Our industry is suffering a chronic shortage of 45,000 to 50,000 drivers. This is jeopardising supply chains and threatens to put the brakes on the economic recovery. This crisis will only get worse, as one in five of the current HGV workforce will reach retirement age in the next ten years.
"We are doubly disappointed as we have figures that clearly show the £150 million would be more than recouped through taxes paid by the new drivers."
He added that it is now essential that driver apprenticeship schemes are given the proper governmental support in order to successfully get off the ground, especially given the high cost of training that is currently expected to be paid by new drivers themselves.
Posted on 26th November 2015
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