Union leader says Government ‘caught out’ as it fails lorry drivers

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A multi-million pound government scheme to improve toilet facilities for lorry drivers is “completely unspent” after one year, according to a leading trade union.

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Unite said that in the October 2021 budget, then-chancellor Rishi Sunak allocated £32.5 million to the Department for Transport (DfT) for roadside facilities at service stations and truck stops for lorry drivers.

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The union said that in a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, the DfT acknowledged: “No companies have yet received money from the £32.5 million match funding scheme.”

The government has failed to give to the lorry drivers. It promised to improve facilities but after 12 months no improvement has been done, budget completely untouched

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Unite said the FoI also showed that £32.5 million was due over a three-year period and only £5 million had been allocated for the current financial year.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The government has failed to serve lorry drivers. It promised to improve facilities but after 12 months no improvement has been made, the budget is completely untouched.

“Access to clean toilets, when necessary, is a basic human right. Not only are lorry drivers routinely being denied this right, but the problems are getting worse, not better.

Unite said poor facilities are a major reason for the crisis in lorry driver numbers and why the industry has both recruitment and retention problems.

A survey by the union found almost two in five lorry drivers believe access to toilets has become worse since the pandemic

We are working closely with operators to allocate funding and will provide more details in due course

Adrian Jones, United’s national officer for road haulage, said: “Lorry drivers will be incensed to learn that despite all the government’s spin on improving facilities it has not spent a penny for over a year. This government There is a fresh stain on the record of

“Lorry drivers can’t wait any longer, the promised funds need to be allocated and spent and not at some distant point in the future. Equally, highly profitable companies shouldn’t be waiting for government cash, they need to own their facilities.” And invest in their drivers.

A DfT spokesman said: “Haulers are vital to this country and deserve a good supply of facilities that are safe and clean.

That is why we are investing over £52 million to improve roadside facilities, enhance safety and improve the welfare of HGV drivers.

“We are working closely with operators on allocating funds and will provide more details in due course.”

John Rowe, head of operational strategy at the Health and Safety Executive, said: “Drivers must have access to toilet facilities to the sites where they deliver – any failure to do so is unacceptable and should be reported to us.”

Richard Smith, managing director of the Road Haulage Association, said: “Commercial vehicle drivers continue to face poor facilities on the road and this is not enough. People need to feel respected at work; our drivers expect better and better are entitled to.

Credit: www.standard.co.uk /

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