The Department regularly reviews the impact of labour shortages on the transport industry. Currently, there are currently 54,000 vacancies in the transport and storage sector, so my officials are in frequent contact with Home Office colleagues to ensure that the needs of the transport industry are reflected in their next review of the shortage occupation list.
Despite issues remaining for many, the HGV driver shortages, exacerbated by Brexit and covid, have marginally improved and drivers are now receiving the higher pay they rightfully deserve, although working conditions remain an issue. Many of the recruits are coming from the bus driving sector, which is causing significant driver shortages, cuts to timetables and service cancellations across the UK, and which is having an impact on passengers and net zero ambitions. What recent discussions has the Secretary of State had with the Home Secretary on expanding the shortage occupation list to include bus drivers?
The newly established transport employment and skills taskforce is already taking steps to identify and address the shortage of skills and jobs across the transport sector that we face now, and it is thinking about how we tackle this for the future. We are supporting new HGV driver training through apprenticeships and we are working with the Department for Work and Pensions to support jobseekers to become HGV drivers. We want to make sure that we grow this pool. This is a challenge not only in the UK, but across the world, and we want to make sure that we are at the front end of bringing these new young people into this industry.