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Haulier shortage before Christmas

A lorry driver shortage could affect deliveries for Christmas, a haulage organisation has warned.

In some areas hauliers have reported the problem was "very bad", with 94% of operators saying the shortage was a real concern, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) said.

The FTA added that the problem was widespread, with northern areas such as Durham, Warrington and Leeds just as badly hit as southern locations such as Taunton, Huntingdon and Slough.

The FTA said the shortage was a long-term issue and was "not just for Christmas", with the association estimating that the number of drivers that will need to be recruited over the next few years exceeds 45,000.

The FTA said almost a quarter of all purchases are expected to be made online as shoppers spend £1.7 billion a day in the run-up to Christmas and all have to be delivered to the customer on time for December 25.

FTA skills policy manager Sally Gilson said: "With just a month to go until Christmas Day it is clear that the festive season is at the forefront of our minds. But driver shortage is not just a seasonal issue but a long-term problem.

"We have long voiced our worries regarding driver shortage and are calling on the Government to support the freight industry with funding in order to encourage new drivers to enrol in the logistics industry."

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