Help tackle the skills shortage, FTA asks businesses

Friday 12 April 2019

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Road Freight and Logistics, Chaired by Sir Mike Penning MP, has launched a call for evidence into the skills shortage that threatens to bring the industry to a halt. FTA, the business organisation which represents the sector, implores FTA members and logistics businesses to contribute to the submissions for the survey. Sally Gilson, FTA’s Head of Skills commented:

“The logistics industry is the lifeblood of the UK economy, employing more than 2.5 million people and contributing £121 billion to the nation’s GVA (gross value added). Yet it is facing a ticking time bomb: the ever-increasing shortage of skilled workers; there are currently 52,000 vacancies for HGVs drivers alone. And with the prospect of losing access to vital EU workers, the shortage could reach catastrophic levels. From HGV drivers to warehouse staff, the UK economy simply cannot operate without the logistics workforce – businesses would come grinding to a halt and Britain would cease trading.”

FTA has been campaigning for many years for Government to consider the effects of the skills shortage and how it will be detrimental to Britain trading.  Logistics is a flexible, adaptable sector, always willing and able to rise to any challenge placed in front of it. With Brexit looming, businesses are having to prepare for all scenarios – but without knowing what a No Deal outcome could mean for both EU and UK citizens, it is impossible to plan staffing levels effectively.  Ms Gilson continues, “The logistics sector is working hard to attract new homegrown talent, but we are competing against many other sectors also suffering skills shortages, which is why we have record levels of vacancies across the sector.” There is a real prospect that if the government does not prioritise the confirmation of the workforce, Britain’s trading will come to a grinding halt.

The information gathered by the APPG will be sent to government to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the attractiveness of the industry and facilities available for drivers, with the foresight to attract a new diverse workforce. The call for written evidence on 8 April through a survey ( is the second stage of the APPG's inquiry in the skills shortage. Information will be gathered up until 30 April 2019. 

The results will be shared in an oral evidence session in the Houses of Parliament. Contributions of evidence are welcomed from large and medium size hauliers as well as trade bodies that represent the industry.  FTA supports the work being put into this survey and agrees that it will allow the voices of the industry to be heard in Parliament and Government. 

Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.  With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.   

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