Local MP and Chair of the Transport Select Committee Huw Merriman has called for better pay for HGV drivers in the House of Commons.
The Transport Secretary was in the Chamber answering an Urgent Question on addressing the shortage of HGV Drivers when Mr Merriman highlighted the need to make being an HGV driver a more attractive role than ever, and attract a more diverse workforce to support the industry.
Huw Merriman MP:
The Secretary of State is right to say that this is a problem across Europe. Germany is estimated to be short of 45,000 to 60,000 HGV drivers and France 45,000. Back in 2016, when I was a member of the Select Committee, our Chairman, Dame Louise Ellman, said:
“This is not a new challenge. The road haulage sector has been short of skilled drivers for the last ten years. The familiar profile of the professional driver – over 45, white and male – will need to adapt.”
She also called for pay to go up. Does the Secretary of State agree that the way for the industry to deal with this is to increase pay, and not to suppress wages and to look for labour from abroad, which, clearly, will not work?
The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP:
We will carry on looking at all the different measures. I hear what Members across the House have said today and previously about this matter. An increase in salaries, better remuneration and better conditions seem like very sensible ways to deal with the issue. We are in support of people who are working hard being paid a decent day’s salary; I support that.
My hon. Friend is absolutely right: 99% of HGV drivers are white, middle-aged and male. They are increasingly well paid. Their average age is 55. Mr Speaker, I could almost qualify myself if this job doesn’t work out.