What next for the UK HGV drivers’ industry?
The madness continues. Some politicians, including my own MP, Grant Shapps, said that Brexit is not to blame for the lorry driver crisis. Moreover, Mr Shapps said that Brexit helped to “provide a solution” to the crisis.
Am I crazy or is he living on a different planet? In the last couple of days, the Road Haulage Association said that what our Transport Minister perceives as a “success” is in actual fact quite the opposite, “illogical”. I would go further that that; it is incomprehensible.
Is Mr Shapps living in some sort of denial? The Office for National Statistics claims that around 14,000(!) EU HGV drivers left employment in the UK in the last 12 months. Only 600(!) returned.
In total, during the Brexit process, around 20,000 drivers left this super important profession. Of course, there are often other contributing factors. Due to the pandemic, HGV testing capacity had significantly reduced, from 70,000 before the pandemic, to only 27,000 between March 2020 and April 2021.
Immigration might not always be the answer, however in this case, there was so much compelling evidence, which clearly demonstrates that the government has yet again failed its residents. It has not reacted on time. The lack of actions from the government was short-sighed and so irresponsible.
The change to Brexit immigration rules will be introduced.
However, I personally doubt that suddenly, many EU drivers will be “happily” coming back to Britain to solve our “drivers’ crisis”.
* Michal Siewniak is a Lib Dem activist and former councillor
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