Last reviewed 25 May 2022

The Government’s plans to cut thousands of jobs in the civil service and put restrictions on new recruitment has not been well received by one of the UK’s leading business groups.

Logistics UK has warned that the UK’s heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and commercial driver shortage could escalate, if staff managing the backlog of driver testing cannot be recruited.

Head of Road Freight Regulation Policy, James Firth, said that road safety could also be compromised by the move, if planned resourcing for heavy vehicle checks is halted.

The suggested Whitehall-wide recruitment freeze would have a significant impact on the delivery of vital government services such as driver licensing applications, heavy vehicle safety checks and HGV driver testing, he explained.

“Logistics businesses have reported continued difficulties in accessing HGV annual safety tests and, with a shortage of qualified drivers continuing across industry, it is crucial that this freeze does not compromise the safety of road users nor disrupt the supply chain by reducing the availability of drivers”, Mr Firth went on.

Logistics UK has pointed out that the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and other government agencies have vacancies that have already been budgeted for, the funding for which is not coming from general taxation but from the fees that industry pays.

It is therefore seeking reassurance that agencies delivering critical safety services, funded by industry, will be protected from any blanket Whitehall recruitment freeze.