The Road Haulage Association has warned that the Cabinet’s proposal to impose new immigration rules on EU nationals would hit haulage hard.
Adopting the skills-based system recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee would fail to meet the needs of UK businesses after Brexit.
RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett says that it’s another bitter blow for the sector and points to the Government’s continuing failure to address the skills shortage.
He said: “Government inertia is already choking this industry’s efforts to attract new talent.
“The trailblazer apprenticeship scheme is mired in red tape and underfunded, and the sector has only had access to £10m of the £130m it has paid into the Apprenticeship Levy.
“The driver shortage is getting worse, yet the Government proposes to adopt a system that will make it even harder to recruit the people we need to keep the economy moving.”
Mr Burnett warns that the continuing shortage has sparked a worrying modal shift in the supply chain. Suppliers are increasingly turning to commercial vans – a much less regulated sector.
“This is bad news,” said Mr Burnett. “It means drivers are moving goods over long distances but aren’t subject to drivers’ hours rules that keep them and other road users safe.”
He calls on the Government to match migration to the needs of businesses and to support the haulage industry unlock funding to recruit and train new staff.