10,000 Visas For Drivers And Poultry Workers - Will It Solve Food And Fuel Shortages?

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10,000 Visas For Drivers And Poultry Workers Will Not Solve Food And Fuel Shortages

The government’s widely anticipated emergency programme to issue temporary visas to up to 5,000 lorry drivers is not enough to fix Britain’s food and fuel supply-chain crisis and is unlikely to attract workers to the UK, haulage chiefs have warned.

Ministers on Sunday announced rushed plans to add 5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers to a visa scheme until Christmas.

Marco Digioia, the head of the European Road Haulers Association representing more than 200,000 trucking companies across the continent, told the Observer that “much more would be needed” than a temporary relaxation of immigration rules. “There is a driver shortage across Europe,” he said. “I am not sure how many would want to go to the UK.”

With staff shortages in other EU countries, such as Germany, attracting people to come and work in the UK for three months will prove a challenge.

The temporary work permit scheme will not resolve the estimated UK shortage of around 100,000 drivers. Setting up the visa scheme and recruit and training and approving the drivers could take several weeks, if not months, and there is also a shortage of 400,000 drivers in Europe.

The government ruled out deploying HGV driver from the Armed services, which would have provided immediate relief.

Although there are over a million people unemployed in the UK, most will not be licensed to drive heavy goods vehicles. More funding is needed to provide training and support to recruit staff locally.

There are 5 million people on universal credit benefit and 600,000 still on the job retention furlough scheme until the end of September – employers are paid by taxpayers to have staff sitting at home months after the economy has reopened.

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