I fully recognise that this is a challenging time for road hauliers. I am appreciative of the role that road hauliers have played in the national effort to combat Covid-19. I have been following the industry’s situation closely and listening carefully to the views of hauliers here in the constituency.
In recognition of the unprecedented circumstances pushing up fuel prices, I welcome the decision announced at the Spring Statement to cut fuel duty by 5 pence for a full year across all fuel duty rates. The Spring Statement will see HGV drivers save £1,500 this year.
I know that my ministerial colleagues communicate with the road haulage industry regularly and have held additional meetings to communicate and engage with proposals that have been have brought forward, some of which centre on the recruitment of HGV drivers. In total, the Government has taken 32 proactive actions to tackle the current shortage of HGV drivers worldwide, including streamlining the testing process, increasing the number of weekly HGV tests by 90 per cent and announcing a skills boot-camp to train up to 11,000 new drivers.
I have been informed that the number of tests available for HGV drivers in a normal week has doubled from 1,500 weekly appointments pre-Covid to 3,200 in a normal week.
As far as I am aware the Government does not currently plan to introduce a dedicated financial support scheme specifically for haulage businesses. However, Ministers have said they will keep their position under review.