© Anna Hristova

The UK government must back its vow that HGV drivers from EU nations will retain their permits following the UK’s departure from Europe with legal validity, said the Freight Transport Association (FTA) today.

Deputy chief executive James Hookham told The Loadstar the 43,000 EU drivers working on UK roads were “pivotal” for the country’s economy and supply chain.

“It is not just drivers, 25% of all warehouse workers in the UK are EU nationals – the government has said these people will be able to continue working, but we need legal validity,” said Mr Hookham.

“Driver shortages in the UK already number 50,000, so losing 43,000 in one stroke would almost double that number, and bring the economy and supply chain to a crashing halt.”

Mr Hookham said it was just a plain fact that the country could not continue to function without the drivers, and there was no contingency option.

He said “in time it may” be possible to recruit from the UK, but added: “It is important the government understands there is no contingency, and losing these drivers would be very, very messy.

“Furthermore, it must recognise the consequences posed by any decision that resulted in these drivers being lost and that industry does not think it is its job to resolve this government problem.”

With the withdrawal set for 29 March 2019, the FTA has already been attempting to instruct members how to deal with any fallout – many fear the country will leave on a ‘hard’ Brexit.

Alongside the threat of driver shortages, Mr Hookham said there were some 180,000 UK businesses that would face the prospect of submitting customs declarations for the first time.

“These are businesses that have only ever traded with EU countries. At Lancaster House last year, Theresa May confirmed the UK would withdraw from the Customs Union, so government should be getting information on customs classifications out now.”

Mr Hookham said if the 180,000 businesses involved were not informed which classification they fall under, it would be difficult for them to operate.

He added that, if the timetable set last year were honoured, the industry needed to know by October what was happening, so it could prepare adequately.

“Six months’ notice will be required,” he said. “This will allow for adequate training, the recruitment of new personnel and any necessary changes at the borders.

“We [FTA] will of course work hard to mitigate the problems Brexit poses, but government must assist, and I reiterate calls for an interim report on the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations.”


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  • George

    February 02, 2018 at 12:46 am

    I have only passed my Hgv Class 2 in August last year. I am one month short of getting six months experience in the industry. I have found that it is excruciatingly agonising, to find a job in this industry.

    Agencies are no help, and I work my behind off, and they still get rid of you.

    I am seriously thinking about walking away from the industry, because it is impossible to take anyone serious in trying to get a job.

    For example, I live literally down the road from a haulage firm advertising for class 1 and 2 jobs. Massive sign outside their gates, been there since March last year. I have put my CV in 11 times, been in and phoned them, and all I get is, “We will get back to you”.

    I have applied to 139 jobs in January 2018 alone, and all I get is, come in and sign up, when it is an agency. Or when it is a haulage firm, either need more experience or insurance reasons.

    I am probably one of the most experienced person on the road, considering my background. And yet, that does not come into it, it only goes how long you had your Hgv licence, not main licence and previous driving jobs.

    Not got nothing by end of February, then I’ll go some other industry. At least they won’t be as picky.

  • Chris

    March 30, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    The HGV industry has created this themselves. Bad management and poor wages along with terms and conditions. But they will never admit this.!! So like every other business that messed up run to the tax payer to bail them out while creaming of the top. Ive done 26 years class one. Adr. Moffat .crane. im going to be another of your statistics leaving.
    Management. What management.

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