Transport minister, Lord Ahmad has claimed the UK's commercial fleet industry must do more to improve working conditions if it is to solve an existing driver crisis. Lord Ahmad told MPs that the Government was doing what it can to recruit and retain HGV drivers, but admitted that any long-term solution 'must be industry-ledî. 'I think conditions need to be improved. The roadside facilities available are not up to standard,î said Lord Ahmad. 'We also need to ensure that the criteria set down for ensuring that drivers have their rest periods, in accordance with the regulations, are applied fairly, adequately and effectively across the industry.î However, Lord Ahmad didn't go as far as suggesting HGV driver wages needed to increase, instead suggesting it was 'for the market to set what sort of wages are competitiveî. 'If you compare how earnings have increased in 2014, we have seen about a 4% increase in the sector and I think that's reflective of the growing demand in the industry more generally,î added Lord Ahmad. The fleet industry estimates that it is short of some 45,000 HGV drivers, while figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) claims that almost 80,000 qualified HGV drivers with a valid driver CPC are opting not to work in the industry at present. Lord Ahmad, who was providing evidence to the Transport Committee, stated the Government 'has a role to playî in helping the commercial fleet industry to provide 'solutions for the shortageî. Lord Ahmad told the committee that the additional recruitment of 195 new HGV examiners will dramatically reduce test waiting times from six to three weeks by the summer. According to, the top three factors affecting HGV driver recruitment and retention are poor wages, poor facilities and their poor overall treatment. Following a recent survey of more than 400 commercial drivers, it was found that 96 per cent felt the best way to attract new recruits or retain existing HGV drivers was by increasing wages (96 per cent) and improving facilities (88 per cent). A spokesman for said: 'What is quite worrying is the 36 per cent of drivers who say they are not treated well by the companies they drive for. 'Even more worrying is the 78 per cent who would not recommend becoming a professional HGV driver. 'The survey results have highlighted issues, which, if not addressed, could result in more HGV drivers leaving the industry and fewer drivers coming in.î