Digital freight matching platform specialist Zeus Labs has reacted to the Transport Select Committee (TSC)’s proposals that the logistics sector solves the UK’s HGV driver shortage crisis and upgrades rest facilities within two years or face a new Government supply chain levy.
Chief Operating Officer Alistair Lindsay believes the proposed tax on the haulage services industry cannot come at a worse time, with issues from inflation and rising fuel prices to the aftermath of Brexit and Covid already taking its toll on a sector that is made up of a majority of small owner-operator fleets. More leadership has long been needed from Central Government and this latest move does nothing but pass the baton of responsibility onto an industry that is buckling under the strain of the current challenges.
Alistair Lindsay, Chief Operating Officer at Zeus Labs, said:
“While there is no question that facilities for HGV drivers must be improved, we are concerned that the Government’s proposed supply chain levy could result in doing more harm than good. It is no secret that the road haulage industry is already buckling under the strain of rising inflation costs and fuel prices, and high training costs which are deterring new recruits and contributing to the growing HGV driver shortage. Normally any measures that make life easier for HGV drivers would be welcome, but more clarity is needed on whether these costs will end up falling on the shoulders of the majority of small owner-operator fleets (with ten trucks and less) that underpin the UK supply chain.
“Further, although it is true that the supply chain industry bears a share of responsibility for its state of play, stronger Government oversight has long been needed to focus the effort, set workable standards and incentivise companies to adapt and improve. Our industry’s efforts to attract new recruits, for example, could greatly be strengthened if training programmes were more accessible and financially supported – something decision makers have so far not taken meaningful action on.
“You do not need to look far to see a system that already works well for drivers. Neighbouring France, for example, has an excellent reputation for high-volume, high-quality roadside facilities specifically for HGV drivers. We need to stop being so insular and look at how well these systems are working so that we can learn and modernise. It is great to see the Government now shares our viewpoint that time is running short, but any efforts need all of us to work together, rather than passing the baton onto the private sector alone.”
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