UKIP transport spokesperson, Jill Seymour, says that action needs to be taken within the road haulage industry to address the serious shortage of HGV drivers. UKIP pledge to scrap the EU’s controversial Driver CPC, which has already resulted in thousands of competent drivers leaving the industry or taking early retirement.
The UKIP transport spokesperson said ‘’The Freight Transport Association believes more than 20,000 HGV drivers have quit in the past 6 months, leaving the country with a serious shortage of delivery drivers.
“And unless the situation is urgently addressed, it could start to hit the food chain to such a degree that, in the worst case scenario, may even lead to empty shelves on our supermarkets.”
The CPC is an EU-wide standard which compels lorry drivers to sit through 35 hours of extra training which can cost them a small fortune.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has defended the CPC, claiming it is important that HGV drivers need to know how to drive their lorries properly.
But Mrs Seymour, who is currently fighting The Wrekin seat for UKIP at the general election, said: “This is yet another classic case of the EU meddling in our affairs.
“Our haulage industry was operating perfectly efficiently and safely before this rule came into effect. Britain has an effective testing regime. Once again, needless directives forcing Britain to conform to Europe are damaging our economy.”
She continued: “We know that the Conservatives can’t be trusted to give us an in-out referendum which would allow us to scrap this unnecessary piece of EU bureaucracy."
UKIP transport spokesperson, Jill Seymour.
THE CPC is just one of the many things that has contributed to the HGV driver shortage crisis. When the CPC was introduced many drivers decided it was ‘the last straw’ and rather than take the necessary training they chose to leave the industry.
The FTA meanwhile has claimed that the shortfall in drivers could now be as high as 60,000, while new figures from the Office of National Statistics yesterday showed a 56% decline in the number of HGV drivers on benefits.
ONS Labour Market Statistics reported that 1,345 HGV drivers claimed Jobseekers Allowance in February 2015, down 56.6% on the 3,100 claimants in February 2014.
FTA managing director of policy and communications James Hookham said: “Although this may appear on the face of it to be good news, the reduction in the number of professional drivers seeking work is compounding the current driver shortage between 50,000 and 60,000 HGV drivers and means that companies will have to work harder to find drivers, driving up pay as a result.’’
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