50,000 more HGV driving tests each year, DFT says
The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced more HGV tests will be made available each year primarily by shortening the application process and the tests themselves.
The government has announced plans to accelerate the process of obtaining an HGV driver licence as a means of tackling the nation-wide labour shortages. The UK faces a current shortfall of around 90,000 HGV drivers.
In a written statement to the House of Commons, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the government would now “overhaul regulations to boost capacity”.
According to the proposed plans, car drivers will no longer need to take a separate test to tow a trailer or caravan. The government explained that this change in legislation should allow roughly 30,000 more HGV tests to be conducted every year.
In addition, tests are to be made shorter by removing several elements and having them tested separately by a third party. To make around 20,000 more HGV driving tests available every year, driver will now be able to get a licence to drive an articulated vehicle without first getting one for a smaller vehicle.
This news comes as CEO of the Food and Drink Federation, Ian Wright, said that the just-in-time supply system may never work again, resulting in “permanent shortages”.
He said: “The result of the labour shortages is the just-in-time system that has sustained supermarkets, convenience stores and restaurants so that food has arrived on shelves or in kitchens just when you need it, is no longer working, and I don’t think it will work again. We are now in for permanent shortages.”