The “forgotten voices” of UK business have had their say on the nation’s economy

A report by Mercedes-Benz Vans has revealed that van drivers have a mixed outlook on the future of the UK and on the opportunities for future growth

Van drivers, owners, operators and fleet managers have had their say on the UK economy for the first time, in a report complied by Mercedes-Benz Vans.

Referred to as the “forgotten lynchpin of British business”, who keep company wheels turning both literally and metaphorically, the survey of 2,000 drivers has revealed a dip in confidence and career optimism among those in the industry since June’s general election.

While 87% of respondents in the Mercedes-Benz Vans Business Barometer are confident their business will grow rather than shrink over the next year, the figure represents a 3% fall between April and August, with both a general election and Brexit negotiations casting uncertainty over the wider economy in between.

Broken down geographically, confidence peaks amongst London’s van drivers, owners and operators – where 92% are forecasting growth but this falls sharply across the UK to 82% in the East of England and 83% in the North East, Wales and Scotland.

With regards recruitment, 47% of those surveyed said they’re looking to take on more staff, with over half saying they’ll be investing in more vans over the next 12 months.

Luckily for van drivers, 44% say their company will become more reliant on vans in the next year, as the trend towards online shopping, quicker delivery windows and a shift away from heavier goods vehicles continues.

However, desipte the opportunity for increased trade, congestion on the UK’s highways and byways remains a concern.

30% of van drivers, owners and operators say it could prevent growth, with delivery businesses say they are losing 15% of their working hours to gridlock.

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