A new report by the Transport Committee has said that current efforts to resolve driver shortages will not be enough to prevent the “looming skills crisis”.

According to the report, “years on underinvestment” by the industry around road transport have lead to a shortage of around 45,000 drivers.

The currently workforce in the industry – largely white male over-45s – is a “demographic time bomb” according to the Committee, and another 40,000 drivers are expected to leave over the next year, widening the gap even further.

Other issues, such as poor working conditions, high training costs, and extensive industry regulation are listed as further contributors to the shortage.

The Skills and Workforce Planning in the Road Haulage Sector report claims that both the industry and the government need to do more to close this gap, saying that current measures “are not sufficiently targeted or wide-reaching to deliver drivers fast enough to address the shortage”.

It is not a lack of people with licenses causing the problem, however. The report found that two out of every three holders of HGV licenses choose not to work in the industry.

The lack of drivers has caused extensive use of agency and non-UK drivers in order to meet demand, which the report highlighted as being a key danger to the industry. Brexit, it added, could make this situation “rapidly more acute” if the UK becomes a less appealing place for non-UK residents to work.

The committee made recommendations for actions to be taken by the government in the report, but claimed that the brunt of the responsibility falls on the industry itself.

“Industry seems to expect the government to step in and resolve the problems caused by years of under-investment,” the report said.

Suggested actions for the industry from the committee include doing more to raise the profile of the industry, find ways of funding licence acquisition, and to attempt to broaden its pool of prospective employees to include more women and ethnic minorities.

The report said that the government’s key priority should be to ensure that the high standard of training required for drivers in maintained despite the shortage, and corners should not be cut.