The UK government has announced plans to accelerate the process of obtaining an HGV driver licence as a means of tackling the nationwide labour shortages.

The UK faces a current shortfall of around 90,000 HGV drivers. To tackle this issue, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced more tests will be made available each year primarily by shortening the application process and the tests themselves.

In a written statement to the House of Commons, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the government would now “overhaul regulations to boost capacity”.

According to the proposed plans, car drivers will no longer need to take a separate test to tow a trailer or caravan. The government explained that this change in legislation should allow roughly 30,000 more HGV tests to be conducted every year.

In addition, tests are to be made shorter by removing several elements and having them tested separately by a third party. To make around 20,000 more HGV driving tests available every year, driver will now be able to get a licence to drive an articulated vehicle without first getting one for a smaller vehicle.

This news comes as the CEO of the Food and Drink Federation, Ian Wright, said that the days of limitless food choice in supermarkets and restaurants are “over”. Speaking at an Institute for Government event, Wright reportedly said that the labour shortage disrupting the food supply chain would get worse and not improve any time soon.