Army HGV drivers ‘on stand-by’ to support driver shortage

HGV licensed army drivers – around 2000 – have been put on stand-by to step in if the driver shortage continues, according to sources reported by The Sun.

The news comes as supermarkets throughout the UK are making efforts to attract new drivers.

Marks and Spencer (M&S) recently announced that it is offering new HGV drivers a £2,000 sign-on bonus, and Tesco is offering a £1000 signing bonus for new drivers who sign up before 30 September.

However, the government denies plans exist to involve the army and no official request has been made to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

According to the Road Haulage Association (RHA), there is currently a shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers across the UK.

“Messages are being sent out to all Army personnel with HGV qualifications,” an anonymous source told The Sun. “They are being put on (a) five-day stand-by notice for driving jobs at major distribution centres around the country.”

“Soldiers will be put up in hotels where necessary and will be working extended hours to assist with the crisis.”

They added: “They will be involved with food distribution as well as the transportation of other essential goods and medical supplies.”

“The recent pandemic has proven that the UK has a large, diverse and highly resilient food supply chain that has coped well in responding to unprecedented challenges,” said a government spokesperson. “We are working closely with the haulage industry to understand and address recent pressures.”

They added: “There are no suggestions or plans to use military support and no requests have been made.”

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