Reuters reports that Britain could face gaps on supermarket shelves this summer and an “unimaginable” collapse of supply chains. The pandemic and Brexit have led to a shortage of more than 100,000 truck drivers, industry leaders have warned.
In a June 23 letter, the industry called for the Prime Minister’s intervention to allow access to European labour by introducing temporary worker visas for HGV drivers and adding them to a “shortage occupation list”.
A government spokesman said however that with the country’s new post-Brexit immigration system, the industry should look to hire local workers instead.
“Supermarkets are already reporting that they are not receiving their expected food stocks and, as a result, there is considerable wastage,” said Richard Burnett, the chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, which co-ordinated the letter.
Britain’s logistics industry had been one of the most vocal in the run-up to Britain’s departure from the European Union, warning that truck drivers would not want to come to Britain if checks and friction increased at the border.
The pandemic has compounded the problem after many European drivers living in Britain returned to their country of origin.
The letter said intervention from government was now the only way to avert “critical supply chains failing at an unprecedented and unimaginable level”.