A shortage of hauliers and associated issues with logistics have led to some businesses reporting difficulties importing and exportingand may be leading to some consumers reporting not being able to find certain items in shops, according to the Office for National Statistics.
There has been a general decline in the number of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers, officially known as large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers, working in the UK for the past four years. Most of that decline has been in the previous two years, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.
An estimated 268,000 people were employed as HGV drivers between July 2020 and June 2021. This is 39,000 fewer than the year ending June 2019 and 53,000 fewer than the peak for HGV driver employment, during the year ending June 2017 (321,000).
There has been a fall in the number of UK nationals employed as HGV drivers since the year ending June 2017. The number of EU nationals employed as HGV drivers increased between 2017 and 2020, but then decreased during the coronavirus pandemic.
Julia Kermode, founder at Nantwich-based IWork: “There needs to be a massive change in our general perception of the haulier profession and it must be given the respect it deserves. Here in the UK HGV drivers are forced to contend with many restrictions on where and when they can stop and have to pay for the privilege of resting after a hard day’s work, often in places with poor facilities. They also have to deal with the fact that a lot of people don’t want to see lorries and lorry drivers in their everyday lives. On top of that, pay has been squeezed and our self-employed drivers’ income has been severely reduced by off-payroll tax legislation, so it’s no wonder many hauliers feel it simply isn’t worth it anymore. No wonder so many have left the profession. The irony is that we are completely reliant on HGV drivers for our daily lives and it’s about time we all realised that and appreciated them for what they do.”