Transport Secretary Grant Shapps calls for a 'higher-skilled, better paid HGV sector'

The Transport Secretary tells GB News that 'we are keen to have people trained domestically and paid properly for a hard days work'

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The Transport Secretary stressed that the "people in this country voted to take back control" by voting for Brexit in an interview with GB News.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps painted a positive picture when discussing the lorry drivers shortage, saying that, for the first time, Britain has got a much greater capacity.

Speaking to GB News presenter Tom Harwood about the HGV crisis, Grant Shapps said that opening up to visas was "actually not the answer" and that he "didn't really want it to be the answer".

The Transport Secretary claimed that the Government "are keen to have people trained domestically and paid properly for a hard days work and therefore pleased to go into the industry".

"We have made a whole series of changes to make it to streamline becoming a HGV driver and I am pleased to say it is working" said the Transport Secretary.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

The Transport Secretary said that a "thousand people a day" were applying to be HGV drivers, a figure which he claimed was "three times more" than previously.

Grant Shapps said that "we are solving the problem with better salaries".

Speaking to Tom Harwood on GB News, the Transport Secretary said "we are duty bound to respect what people have voted for and in this case we want to see a higher-skilled, better-paid HGV sector".

The Cabinet minister also spoke to ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “You’ll be pleased to hear we’ve got three times as many applications now for people to get provisional HGV licences, which is great, and, at the other hand, taking their tests and therefore coming on to the roads.

“For the first time, we’ve got much greater capacity, and we’ve actually got some spare tests each week at a much higher level than before coronavirus. We are now finally seeing more domestic HGV drivers coming on to the roads.”

He added: “I think just with all of this, if you don’t mind me saying, I think we’ve got to be careful not to sort of report ourselves into a crisis when it comes to things like our ports.

“I saw stories yesterday running, saying Felixstowe, which is our biggest container port, it’s going to be terrible for Christmas. Actually, when I speak to Felixstowe, they don’t feature in the world’s busiest in terms of congestion ports at all.”