UK Film & TV productions hit with increased cost due to HGV Driver shortage

Thu 17th Jun 2021

Productions face higher prices and expensive unit base costs unless more is done to help end a shortage of HGV drivers in the UK, Marsden Proctor has warned.

“This has huge ramifications for the TV & Film Industry as we are facing a "perfect storm", caught between Brexit and COVID-19. Since 1 January, EU citizens are included in a new immigration system in the UK, which gives priority to high-skilled roles. HGV drivers are not among the list of eligible skilled occupations, which means they are excluded from a skilled work visa.

You may have recently seen headlines in the national press like "Lorry driver shortage could mean higher prices in shops,” and "UK supermarket supply thrown into chaos over 'catastrophic' truck driver shortage". Due to Brexit there is now a estimated 70,000 short fall of HGV Drivers in the UK, as prior to 1st January these came from the EU. Consequently, there is now only a limited pool of agency drivers to draw from with rates at a premium.

Facilities By ADF based in Bridgend and London is facing increasing difficulty in sourcing agency drivers. We currently directly employ 70 x HGV drivers, however we are heavily dependent on agency drivers to supplement the short fall in our requirements. We regularly have in excess of 120 x drivers going out to cover the unit base moves across the 15 x productions we are currently servicing throughout the UK.

There is very limited availability due to multiple business sectors all drawing from the same diminished pool of drivers, when we are able to secure availability of drivers we have to pay premium rates as we are competing with likes of Royal Mail & Supermarkets who like to sweep up the majority of agency drivers by paying double the normal rates.

The Home Office said its points-based immigration system said employers should "focus on investing in our domestic workforce, especially those needing to find new employment, rather than relying on labour from abroad."

The government is working with the haulage sector to promote jobs, training and a range of other initiatives to get more people into HGV driving.

Recent articles include:

Brexit: Lorry driver shortage could mean higher prices in shops: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-57354636 

The driver shortage will escalate to a crisis without fast government support: https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/people/the-driver-shortage-will-escalate-to-a-crisis-without-fast-government-support/656973.article 

UK supermarket supply thrown into chaos over 'catastrophic' truck driver shortage: https://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/1450960/uk-supermarket-news-food-supply-latest-truck-driver-shortage-lorry-drivers-latest-gmb-vn

No lights, no camera: UK TV producers face equipment shortage: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/jun/13/no-lights-no-camera-uk-tv-producers-face-equipment-shortage

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