HGV driver shortage: Britons tend to prefer training British drivers to bringing in foreign drivers

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
October 12, 2021, 10:43 AM UTC

Most Brits think the shortages will impact the festive season

The shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers continues to test the strength of supply chains in the UK. This has prompted debate over whether the solution needs to come from within the UK or abroad. The government campaign to find more drivers has included asking paramedics and army veterans to drive trucks, as well as encouraging more foreign drivers to work in the UK through special visas. Dominic Raab, the Justice Secretary, has dismissed Labour’s calls for up to 100,000 visas for migrant drivers and suggested that low-level offenders in prison could be drafted in to fill the vacancies instead.

YouGov asked Britons what they think what approach would be most effective – hire from abroad or within the UK?

Some 38% of people think that convincing more British people to become truck drivers would be the most effective solution to the issue. However, the shortage may not be an issue of convincing more people to sign on, as it has been reported that there are over 4,000 new applications and 50,000 outstanding renewals for HGV driving licences awaiting approval by the DVLA.

Another 38% say the most effective solution would be a combination of both convincing British people to become drivers, as well as convincing foreign drivers to work in the UK.

Only 6% of people think convincing overseas truck drivers to work in the UK would be an effective solution by itself. This comes as news reports reveal that less than one-tenth of the 300 emergency visas for EU HGV drivers wanting to work in the UK have been claimed.

Conservative voters are more likely to think that convincing British people to become drivers would be the most effective solution alone (55%). Another 33% of Tories think drawing in both domestic and foreign drivers would be the most effective approach. Labour voters tend to think the combined solution would be more effective (47%) than focusing on solely British drivers (25%).

Seven in ten predict HGV drivers shortage will impact Christmas

With less than 100 days until Christmas, industry leaders have warned that the ongoing shortage of drivers could well impact the festive season.

Approaching seven in ten Britons (69%) think that it is likely Christmas will be impacted by the shortage of drivers – including 24% who think it's “very likely” the festive season will be disrupted.

Nearly two-thirds of Conservatives (64%) and three-quarters of Labour voters (77%) believe the shortage of drivers will impact Christmas – as do a majority of all age groups.

Only 18% think it is unlikely the shortage of drivers will impact Christmas this year.

See full results here