The United Kingdom is on thin ice! A shortfall of HGV drivers could result in a shortage of gritters over Christmas.
As authorities struggle to address a deficit of gritter drivers, Britain’s roadways may stay ice-covered this winter.
Councils fear that key services would be significantly disrupted due to a nationwide scarcity of HGV drivers. Due to a scarcity of drivers, 18 councils were forced to postpone waste collections last month due to staff shortages. “While most councils have been able to keep services running, others may discover that their gritting services are impacted in the same way that some have seen rubbish collection services disrupted,” said Councillor David Renard, the Local Government Association’s transportation spokesperson.
“Councils will be working proactively, as they do every year, to plan ahead and ensure that their winter services are as resilient as possible.”
Mr Renard also cautioned that raising wages for private-sector drivers will exacerbate the problem.
Indeed, he claimed that a rise in private sector wages would drive some local governments out of business since they lacked the financial resources to compete.
He said to The Sun: “Councils are eager to collaborate with the government and other partners to promote greater training in these high-demand areas, but this is a protracted process that does not alleviate the immediate constraints on frontline services.
“Fast-rising HGV driver salaries in the private sector risk worsening problems in the public sector, with the increases posing a retention and recruiting difficulty for councils and their contractors.
“We want to collaborate with the government to fix these short-term staffing concerns so that people across the country can keep getting the services they need.”
According to the Road Haulage Association, there is a shortage of up to 100,000 HGV drivers.
The government has given 5,000 temporary permits for EU lorry drivers in an attempt to bolster driver numbers.
A new skills boot camp has also been announced by the government, with 2,000 spots available.
This program, on the other hand, will not begin until November and will last up to 16 weeks.
The government had already provided 3,000 additional spots under a previous scheme.
“To enable more people join the profession, we’re expanding our skills bootcamps offer to support 5,000 people obtain the skills they need to be road ready, and to help those with previous experience refresh their abilities so they can get,” Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said “..