Is Christmas Cancelled? The Changes to Combat the HGV Driver Shortage

For many people this year has flown by. Michael Bublé took us all by surprise earlier this week with his TikTok announcing that there are only 100 days left until Christmas. Now, with under one hundred days left people are beginning to worry about the impact that the HGV driver shortage will have on the big day.

Iceland have already began to warn of the impact of the shortage with an average of 30-40 of their daily deliveries being cancelled daily. Toy shops have also warned of how the shortage is putting a strain on them being able to fill their shelves this year. Ordinarily, Supermarkets tend to begin to build up their Christmas stock in September, however, with supply chain issues putting a huge strain on deliveries, it’s unlikely that they will be able to store as much stock as was possible in previous years unless something drastically changes.

It is estimated that 14,000 of EU drivers had left the UK by June 2020 and only 600 of these had returned to the UK for the end of the Brexit transition period on the 31st December 2020.

Earlier this year, as a means of combating the shortage, HGV testing was increased by 50%, however the sector pressures are still growing and more needs to be done to ensure that the UK doesn’t hit a larger crisis. To help subsidise the pressures on the sector it has been announced that HGV tests will be relaxed to assist with the shortages on the run up to Christmas. The aim of these relaxations is to allow 50,000 more tests to be taken by making three changes.

Three test changes -

  • Car drivers will not be able to take tests to tow a caravan or a trailer due to a change in requirements. It is estimated that this will allow 30,000 more HGV tests to take place
  • HGV tests will be shorter with the revising exercise element removed. Drivers will also not be subject to testing by a third party
  • Articulated vehicle drivers will no longer be required to hold a licence for a smaller vehicle first. This will allow approximately 20,000 more HGV tests to take place

It has been speculated that the best way to relieve the sectoral pressures will be to introduce HGV Drivers to the list of essential, skilled workers and beginning an overseas recruitment drive.

What are your thoughts on the HGV shortage? Do you think that the measures that are being taken will be enough to boost the sector? Get in touch on our social media pages to let us know!