Ahead of difficult summer for the haulage sector, local MP Fay Jones lobbied the Secretary of State for Transport on behalf of a Llandrindod Wells trucking firm.
With widespread attention on the haulage sector, Ms Jones met with AE Gough and Sons, based in Llandrindod Wells to learn more about the current situation. She later took these concerns to the Secretary of State for Transport – arguing in Parliament that conditions for truck drivers needed to be improved if the sector was to overcome its recruitment issues. She pointed to the lack of amenities and facilities on motorways, as well as the long hours spent away from home, which were preventing firms from being able to recruit.
During a site visit earlier this summer, AE Gough and Sons – who have been operating out of Llandrindod Wells since 1926 - expressed their huge concerns over the conditions their drivers experience at overnight parking sites. There is a lack of suitable washing facilities and poor food options for their HGV drivers throughout the UK. The business has fears that they will not survive, without urgent changes to facilities used their drivers.
Mr Schapps agreed with Fay, promising her an opportunity to meet and discuss these issues in greater depth. He said: “We want to see the overnight facilities improved. We want to attract people into this industry. We are starting to see that movement, not only because there has been a welcome increase in salaries and wages, but because of campaigns, including by The Sun newspaper, to “Keep on trucking”, which is encouraging more people into this industry. I or my roads Minister would be happy to meet my hon. Friend”
Fay Jones said
“I am very grateful to AE Gough and Sons for showing me more about their business. We went through the issues facing the sector in detail and I’ve been able to make the Secretary of State aware of these. They have made some helpful suggestions about reforms to the licensing process which I think could be very helpful. I look forward to discussing those with the Secretary of State as soon as possible.
Now that we are outside the European Union, we can reform the over-complicated Certificate of Professional Competency (CPC) process. Those who argue that driver shortages are a Brexit based problem are completely wrong – Germany has much higher vacancies than this country does.
What’s important now is amending some of the rules to make the testing process much quicker and so I would urge all haulage firms, and everyone with long-haul driving experience in the constituency, to respond to the Government’s consultation on this as quickly as possible.”