Britain may face meals shortages as a consequence of lorry driver disaster By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Lorries queue in on the border management of the Port of Dover in Dover, Britain, January 15, 2021. REUTERS/John Sibley/File Photograph

By James Davey

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain may face gaps on grocery store cabinets this summer time and an “unimaginable” collapse of provide chains after the pandemic and Brexit led to a scarcity of greater than 100,000 truck drivers, business leaders have warned.

In a June 23 letter despatched to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the business known as for his private intervention to permit entry to European labour by introducing non permanent employee visas for HGV drivers and including them to a “scarcity occupation record”.

A authorities spokesman mentioned nevertheless that with the nation’s new post-Brexit immigration system, the business ought to look to rent native staff as an alternative.

“Supermarkets are already reporting that they aren’t receiving their anticipated meals shares and, in consequence, there’s appreciable wastage,” mentioned Richard Burnett, the chief government of the Highway Haulage Affiliation, which co-ordinated the letter.

Britain’s grocery store business, led by Tesco (OTC:), Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons, depends on a military of drivers and warehouse staff to deliver contemporary produce from the fields of Europe to its cabinets.

Britain’s logistics business had been some of the vocal within the run-up to Britain’s departure from the European Union, warning that truck drivers wouldn’t need to come to Britain if checks and friction elevated on the border.

The pandemic has compounded the issue after many European drivers dwelling in Britain returned to their nation of origin.

The letter mentioned intervention from authorities was now the one method to avert “crucial provide chains failing at an unprecedented and unimaginable stage”.

It mentioned the approaching summer time holidays, the continued unlocking of the financial system and spikes in demand for foods and drinks created by sizzling climate and main sporting occasions would exacerbate the issue. Christmas preparation would even be hit.

In response a authorities spokesman mentioned progress had been made in hiring and coaching.

“Our new points-based immigration system makes clear employers ought to concentrate on investing in our home workforce, particularly these needing to search out new employment, fairly than counting on labour from overseas,” he mentioned.

The letter was signed by the CEOs of a raft of logistics teams, together with Eddie Stobart, Wincanton, XPO Logistics (NYSE:) and KUEHNE + NAGEL, in addition to the heads of business teams together with the Meals and Drink Federation, British Frozen Meals Federation, Chilly Chain Federation, British Beer and Pub Affiliation and the British Meat Producers Affiliation.

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