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Government fails to spend a penny on driver toilets

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The government has failed this year to deliver on its £32.5 million funding promise for better facilities for HGV drivers, such as showers, toilets and eating areas.


In a Freedom of Information request, sent by Unite the union and seen by Safety Management, the Department of Transport admitted that no money has yet been spent. Only £5m of that money is due to be spent next year. 

In November, the DfT pledged a 'matching scheme' in which it would match fund improvements for roadside facilities at service stations and truck stops for lorry drivers. In the FoI it admitted: “No companies have as yet received funding from the £32.5 million match funding scheme.”

Europe could lack over two million drivers by 2026, unless more is done to make the industry accessible and attractive. Photograph: iStock

It comes as one in 10 of the 1,700 drivers surveyed by the union said a lack of toilets on the roads resulted in them developing a medical condition.

Commenting, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Toilet dignity is a fundamental union demand — no worker should be routinely denied access to a clean toilet.”

And it follows a new report by world road transport association, the IRU which says that Europe could lack over two million drivers by 2026, unless more is done to make the industry accessible and attractive.

In March, Safety Management investigated how poor standards of facilities on the road was keeping drivers away and that drivers joining the sector were also quickly leaving again.

Luiza Paludo Gomes, campaigns advisor at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation told us: “There aren’t the resting facilities, shower facilities, or toilets up to a standard you would expect of someone that basically lives on the road. Currently it’s hard to attract new talent into the industry.”

The DfT stated that the £32.5m is part of a a 3-year funding programme up to March 2025. "We have flexibility to move spending across years and there is potential to accelerate this spending if there is high initial demand." Applications for truck-stop and road service operators to bid for a share of the match-funding pot from the government opened today. 

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