Skip to main content

Transport Workforce: Migration

Volume 742: debated on Thursday 14 December 2023

11. What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential impact of Government proposals to reduce net migration on the transport sector workforce. (900658)

I regularly engage with Cabinet colleagues on Government policy, including migration, and my Department works closely with organisations across the transport industry to understand the sector’s concerns about the transport labour market.

The driver shortage in the UK is far from over and, according to sector insiders, a “tipping point” is looming. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that there were 6,000 fewer delivery and courier drivers in the UK in 2023 than in the previous year, and more than half the UK’s HGV drivers are due to retire in the next decade. What steps is the Secretary of State taking to ensure that this ticking time bomb does not blow up in our face as happened during the period following Brexit? Surely migration is part of the solution.

It is disappointing that the SNP’s first response to any tightness in the labour market is to want to import people from abroad. My colleague the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, along with the fantastic officials in that Department and our jobcentre network, is ensuring that we provide skills training for those who are already in the United Kingdom so that we can deal with the skills shortages, as we did so effectively in the case of HGV drivers when, during and following the pandemic, we worked rapidly to get more of them into the industry.