In June this year, I raised the issue of the current shortage of HGV drivers in the Senedd.

Things seem to have been bought to the forefront now that we are getting closer to Christmas and many are worried if they will get a turkey on the table or not?

Even before the pandemic struck there was a shortage of drivers estimated at around 60,000. Travel faced greater restrictions last year and many drivers of EU nationality left and did not return. Another big contributor to the shortage is pay and working conditions.

Drivers have to work long anti-social hours and the lack of suitable parking spaces and basic facilities have been a cause for concern to those in the freight industry for some time and has put a lot of men and women off from becoming a HGV driver.

Sadly the pandemic also created a large backlog in HGV driver tests.

Without a doubt, I believe that more needs to be done to attract younger men and women to the profession.

Figures from the recruitment firm “Indeed” show that drivers have seen their wages increase by 8.5 per cent.

The UK Conservative government has already taken action to address this shortage, investing in a new skills camp to train up to 5,000 people to become HGV drivers.

I hope this will help tackle the skills shortage and allow more people to launch new careers into the logistics sector.

Another 5,000 HGV drivers will be able to come to the UK for three months in the run-up to Christmas, providing short-term relief for the haulage industry.

A further 5,500 visas for poultry workers will also be made available for the same short period, to avoid any potential further pressures on the food industry during this exceptional period.

Handing out visas will not be the long term solution, which is why the government continues to support the industry in solving this issue in the long term through improved testing and hiring, with better pay, working conditions and diversity.

In Wales, I have called on the minister to kick start HGV training for 18 to 25-year-olds by paying for the course for young people willing to start their training in the next six months.

However the UK government is keen to kick start the scheme and if you are interested in becoming an HGV driver then please do visit: