THERE ARE 53,000 fewer working lorry drivers than there were four years ago with Covid and Brexit cited as the primary reasons for the drop in numbers, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Back in June 2017 there were 321,000 people working as HGV drivers in the UK. But by June 2021, the ONS estimates that there are now 268,000 HGV drivers, of which 237,000 are UK nationals (down 42,000), 28,000 are European Union (EU) nationals (down 12,000) and 3,000 are non-EU nationals (up 1,000). That represents a 17% drop in numbers.
During the coronavirus pandemic from June 2019 to December 2020 the number of HGV drivers fell by 22,000 from 307,000 to 285,000.
Combining Brexit and Covid from December 2020 to June 2021, the number of HGV drivers fell by an additional 17,000 to that overall figure of 268,000.
The exodus has been led by middle-aged drivers in the 46-to-55 year old category. In four years, their number fell by 29%, or 34,000.
YOUNGER DRIVERS LEAVING
The number of younger HGV drivers has also fallen. Between 2018 and 2019, the number of HGV drivers aged up to 35 years had generally been increasing, peaking at more than 68,000 in the year ending December 2019, before decreasing again.
By the year ending June 2021, there were around 52,000 HGV drivers aged up to 35 years, which was nearly 4,000 (7%) fewer than in the year ending June 2017.