Logistics UK – HGV driver numbers falling more slowly

After a recent continued fall in numbers, Logistics UK say that the number of UK HGV drivers is set to stabilise this year.

Between October and December 2021, 27,144 HGV vocational tests were undertaken, representing a 53.5% increase compared to the same period in 2019.

The government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown that the number of HGV drivers fell in 2021 compared to 2019. Between October and December 2021, there was a decrease in the number of drivers of around 49,000 compared to 2019, but the fall was significantly less than earlier in 2021. The slowing of the fall in numbers is attributed to more HGV driving tests being available through the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Elizabeth de Jong, director of policy at Logistics UK, commented, “The new ONS data shows that attracting new entrants to the profession, and ensuring sufficient tests are available, are key to the resilience of the logistics sector. The long waiting list to take a vocational HGV test in Great Britain has been a key contributor to the driver shortage crisis; the data in the report revealed today shows that the DVSA is making progress in catching up on the testing backlog, which grew out of the restrictions under the Covid-19 pandemic. Logistics UK will be working with its members and government to ensure focus remains on reducing the shortfall in HGV drivers.
“The number of van drivers in the workforce is soaring, with a net increase of 17,000 of these workers in Q4 [October to December] 2021, owing possibly to new job opportunities arising in this market, with demand for online shopping increasing throughout the pandemic.”

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