Supply problems due to Brexit have prompted the British government to seek solutions. Temporary work visas will be issued to 5 thousand drivers of heavy vehicles. However, the retail sector is confident that this will not be enough.
Work permits for third-country nationals will be valid from October to December. Retailers have warned that if the driver shortage problem is not resolved, the upcoming Christmas season will significantly exacerbate it with increased traffic.
For the second day, British gas stations have long queues of many hours, as oil companies announced a shortage of tanker drivers, which could disrupt supply chains and the operation of gas stations. Some of them have already closed, others have introduced a limit on the amount of fuel for each driver. Grand Saps, UK’s Secretary of Transport, says:
“After 18 very difficult months, I know how important this Christmas is for all of us, and therefore we are taking these steps as soon as possible to make sure the preparations go according to plan.”
The government’s decision to bring in such a large number of foreign workers is inconsistent with the tough policies of the British prime minister, who argues that the country has ceased to depend on foreign labor. And until recently, such a solution to the issue was not taken, although representatives of many sectors of the economy announced a shortage of 100,000 truck drivers.
The British Minister of Transport assures that, in addition to this step, the government has taken other urgent measures to solve the urgent problem before Christmas. And the Department of Education will provide millions of pounds to train 4,000 truck drivers through the creation of new training centers to speed up the process.
But the British government has already warned that the measures being taken are a short-term solution. In the long term, companies need to focus on hiring British drivers, offering them decent wages and better working conditions:
“We are acting now, but industries must also be involved in the effort to continue to improve working conditions and provide the right wages to retain new drivers.”
The British Freight Transport Association estimates that 100,000 truck drivers have fled the country due to the effects of Brexit and the pandemic. British Chamber of Commerce President Ruby McGregor-Smith noted that government-issued visas are “not enough”:
“They are not enough to solve such a large-scale problem, as if they want to put out a fire with a glass of water.”
Earlier our publication reported that British supermarkets greet customers with empty shelves. TO food shortages cited two main reasons – Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. At first glance, some trading establishments seem to have a product. However, as the employees of supermarkets admit, all of it is laid out for customers, and the warehouses are completely empty. For many months now, British companies have been confronted with supply difficulties, which may not have the best effect on the country’s economic recovery.
And although these problems are not unique to the UK, as the pandemic has disrupted the normal rhythm of life in all countries, they are more acute there due to the consequences of Brexit, which makes it difficult for foreign workers to enter.