Government defends ‘extended driving hours’ plan

Transport minister Baroness Vere said extending drivers’ hours was ‘definitely not a long-term solution’ to the burgeoning recruitment crisis and that the industry had known for a long time this problem was on the horizon.

Speaking during a House of Lords debate, Vere said that although they had been some of the heroes during the pandemic, it was ‘time for the industry to step up just a little more’.

She said: “On 1 August last year, we suspended the HGV levy. This has saved the industry hundreds of millions of pounds. For each truck, it costs about £900 a year, so if you are a haulier with 3,000 trucks, you save £2.5m.

“That could train 800 new drivers. I ask the industry to recruit those people and train them.”

She went on to say that the government was doing all it could to ease the driver recruitment issue and that it needed the industry to work in partnership with it.

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