Due to the shortage of HGV drivers across the country, councils now fear essential services may now be severely impacted. Such is the lack of drivers, 18 councils had to suspend bin collections after staff shortages last month. Councillor David Renard, transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said: “While most councils have been able to keep services running, some may find that their gritting services are affected in the same way that some have seen waste collection services impacted.
“As they do every year, councils will be working proactively to plan ahead and ensure that their winter services are as resilient as they can be.”
Mr Renard also warned increasing wages for drivers in the private sector will only add to the problem.
Indeed, he said a rise in private sector wages would price out some councils that do not have money to match competitors.
He told The Sun: “Councils are keen to work with Government and partners to support more training for these demand sectors, however, this is a lengthy process and does not alleviate the short term pressures on frontline services.
“Fast inflating HGV driver salaries in the private sector risks exacerbating issues in the public sector, with the rises potentially creating a retention as well as a recruitment problem for councils and their contractors.
“We want to work with Government to address these short term staffing issues to ensure people across the country can continue to receive the services they rely upon.”
The Road Haulage Association has revealed there is a shortfall of up to 100,000 HGV drivers.
In order to try and increase driver numbers, the Government has offered 5,000 temporary visas for EU lorry drivers.
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Westminster is also preparing to divert a £50million package aimed at improving driver conditions.
The fund will help improve lorry parks by upgrading facilities such as showers, cafes and laboratories.
The Government wants to improve facilities in order to encourage women to join the industry.
One source told The Times that conditions must be improved in order to attract more back to the industry.
They said: “It’s not just about wages: they are treated terribly.
“People see them as a nuisance on the road, they aren’t welcomed when they get to their destination, they have to constantly watch the clock and once it’s time to stop they find there’s no decent facilities so they keep in their cab by the side of the road.