Why is there a shortage?
Many factors have contributed to the shortage of lorry drivers, and the price rises. Some of the obvious reasons being Covid-19 and Brexit. The pandemic of Covid-19 meant that 30,000 tests for new drivers were delayed. Brexit has also been the blame for the problems from some companies, stating that 15,000 European truck drivers have left the United Kingdom in the last year.
According to The Road Haulage Association, Britain is short of around 60,000 lorry drivers. Company directors and bosses are having to drive lorries to cover the shortages. According to the Freight Transport Association, in 2020, there were 320,000 lorry drivers in total in the UK.
Supply and demand
Lorry drivers are always going to be a necessity, as supermarkets are always going to need lorry drivers. Supermarkets have been offering up to double the going rate as they are desperate to make sure that their shelves are stocked. Pubs and restaurants are also in need as now that they are opening up again after Covid-19, they need supplies.
John Cook of Wrings Transport, has said “That’s a lot of money, and we are retaining our drivers and bringing new employees into the company. But we have had to pass that cost onto our customers.”
Some companies have lorries that are idly on standby every day, costing up to thousands of pounds.
A lot of companies had a steady supply of drivers from Europe, however, when Covid hit, that all changed. Now, drivers aren’t returning to the UK, as they can get the same pay from elsewhere in Europe, without the strain of Brexit.
We should “focus on investing in our domestic workforce, rather than relying on labour from abroad” is what the Home Office have said about the labour force.
The shortage of lorry drivers also means that rubbish has been going uncollected, particularly recycling.
Somerset Waste Partnership’s Mickey Green has said that they’re “about 25 drivers down, out of 180”. This has meant that they’ve either had to miss collections or pick them up the following week. Local councils are not going to approve a 20% pay rise when care workers are only getting a 1% pay rise. Which increases the demand for lorry drivers.