The road haulage industry should be given a two-year deadline to upgrade facilities for lorry drivers, with clean showers, healthy food and spaces for female drivers, or face a new tax, ministers have been told.
On Wednesday, a cross-party group of MPs called for the logistics industry to “get its house in order” by improving overnight facilities for drivers and providing new training routes to recruit more truckers from diverse backgrounds. It comes as the sector struggles with a lack of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers, leading to regular fuel shortages at petrol pumps and empty shelves in supermarkets.
Last year the Road Haulage Association, the industry trade body, estimated there was a shortfall of 100,000 HGV drivers due to the coronavirus crisis and Brexit. The shortage is now estimated to have decreased to about 65,000 drivers.
The Commons transport select committee said that if the changes are not made within two years, the most profitable parts of the sector should face a new tax.
Under the proposed supply chain levy, large supermarkets, oil companies and online service giants could be forced to pay towards the cost of new facilities for HGV drivers.
“We urge government to be brave and force the sector to get its house in order,” Huw Merriman, the Conservative chairman of the committee, said. “A supply chain levy has worked previously to incentivise reform.
“If the industry won’t deliver change, government should do so and send them the bill via increased taxes to those who produce and sell and make the most profits.”
The committee’s report, Road Freight Supply Chain, found that “a key reason drivers do not stay in the sector is the lack of high-quality rest facilities”.
The report called for the introduction of minimum standards for facilities, including security, clean showers and toilets, healthy food options, and services for female drivers.
Drivers quoted in the report raised concerns about “poor washing facilities” at…
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