HGV driver shortage: Suffolk boss says Government plan 'short sighted'

Magnus Group CEO Olly Magnus

Magnus Group CEO Olly Magnus - Credit: Magnus Group

Lorry drivers need to be treated with respect and have facilities significantly improved to avoid supply problems in the future, says a Suffolk haulier boss.

Olly Magnus, CEO of logistics business Magnus Group, believes the current shortage of drivers in the country has been a long time coming and that the Government's solution just pushes the problem further down the line.

"It's been going on for years to be honest," said Mr Magnus. "You suddenly get Covid, IR35 and Brexit, it's become a bit of a perfect storm. But it only comes into the public domain when the supermarket shelves are empty."

Olly Magnus, chief executive of Magnus Group Ltd, a haulage, freight forwarding and transport compan

Olly Magnus believes the key to recruiting more drivers into the industry is improving the facilities available to them - Credit: Magnus Group

Mr Magnus said the problem of a lack of drivers won't be solved by the Government's "short sighted" plan to offer European drivers three month visas.

He added: "The big problem with this country is the facilities for the drivers. The facilities in Europe are much better so they have a much better experience.

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"So why is there suddenly going to be an influx of people for three months? They've got to find accommodation, come over get everything sorted just for three months and help us out. I think it's highly unlikely at all that there will be people stampeding to come through."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the short length of the scheme is so that we don't "rely on overseas labour in the longer run" and so they can "sort out" the longer term problems.

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The Government has also introduced a plan to train up to 4,000 people as new HGV drivers to help tackle the shortage.

The Magnus Group boss, whose company employs 60 drivers, says the pay has risen to roughly where it should be but believes a long term solution requires making the job more appealing.

"Drivers have notoriously been treated pretty poorly by the general public and by delivery points. We have to start realising they are an important part of our economy.

"With the truck stops half of them are shut and half of them are not very nice.

"If you've got a choice to come to the UK as a European driver or go to France or Germany, where it's a much better experience, you're going to stay there you are aren't you."

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