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UK HAULAGE driver shortages have hit ‘catastrophic proportions’ with the Road Haulage Association reporting a loss of 15,000 drivers since Brexit.The sector body has warned that this will lead to food shortages on supermarket shelves by the Autumn, and…
Gaps are starting to appear on supermarket shelves because of a “desperate shortage” of lorry drivers – a problem that will likely lead stores to raise food prices.
Piles of fresh produce is going to landfill and some goods are starting to vanish from shops because of a shortfall of as many as 65,000 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers.
The “escalating crisis” stands to affect supplies of goods from fruit and vegetables to milk and cheese, the boss of a leading produce company has warned.
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Brexit, which prompted thousands of EU lorry drivers to leave the UK, the introduction of IR35 tax changes in April, which has driven up costs, and a lack of driver training and tests during the pandemic has led to “a desperate shortage of lorry drivers”, said Tim O’Malley, managing director of Nationwide Produce.
“Hundreds of loads of produce a day” are being “rolled” – their delivery to stores being delayed by a day or more, Mr O’Malley added.
This is shortening the produce’s shelf life or leaving food spoiled by the time it reaches its destination.
One grocery chain begun notifying customers of shortages in an effort to prevent shoppers from erupting at staff.
A branch of Budgens, in Great Blackenham, Ipswich, has informed locals: “Due to a national shortage of delivery drivers, we are experiencing cancellations in deliveries resulting in low stock around the store.”
Meanwhile, last weekend, a major milk supplier was unable to make around 100 deliveries – enough to serve 250,000 customers – to a separate supermarket chain, it is understood.
As well as struggling to find in-demand items, shoppers could also see their grocery bills rise as haulage firms increase wages in an effort to attract more drivers.
John Lucy, head of international transport at the Road Haulage Association, estimates the deficit of drivers is in the region of 65,000, and has appealed to the Home Office to add HGV drivers to its skilled worker shortage occupation list, making it easier for applicants to come to the UK for work.
“We need to access more drivers from all over the world,” Mr Lucy said.
“I’d expect prices in general will increase… all supply chain costs get passed on eventually to [the] end buyer.”
The Home Office said in a statement: “Employers should focus on investing in our domestic workforce, especially those needing to find new employment, rather than relying on labour from abroad.
“The Government is working with the haulage sector to promote jobs, training and a range of other initiatives to get more people into HGV driving.”
- ^ Brexit (inews.co.uk)
- ^ introduction of IR35 tax changes in April (inews.co.uk)
- ^ deliveries are not going to supermarkets (inews.co.uk)
- ^ UK food and drink exports to EU dive by 75% after Brexit, with chocolate, whisky and cheese among worst hit (inews.co.uk)
- ^ A branch of Budgens, in Great Blackenham, Ipswich, (www.facebook.com)
- ^ @kt_grant (twitter.com)
A woman was rescued by firefighters after her Range Rover was hit by a lorry on the A66 yesterday.
The incident happened near Newsham at around 8pm on Thursday evening.
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said the Range Rover was rear ended by a lorry.
A spokesperson said the female driver was not physically trapped.
However, the roof of the vehicle had to be cut off to get the motorist out safely due to a pre-existing medical condition.
The woman was then to hospital by road ambulance as a precaution.
The fire crew from Richmond was assisted by colleagues from Barnard Castle.
RTC on A66 tonight with @NYFRS_Richmond and Barnard Castle. Great inter service working to resolve the incident with thankfully no serious injuries. @NorthYorksFire @NYorksPolice @YorksAmbulance @CDDFRS pic.twitter.com/zDHISJ4qyG
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Huge parking problems in one part of Wirral have sparked anger among residents who say their road keeps getting blocked up.
Posting on the Facebook group Bebington Community Page, one person said: “We live on the crescent and it’s just a nightmare.
“I have several pictures on my phone [which] I am going to take to the council as it’s so dangerous as they mount the pavements in order to get parking.
“We can never find a space at that time and they think they have priority parking in residents’ spaces.”
One part of the problem seemed to be parents and sixth form students parking their cars on the narrow road to get to and from school.
Do you live on this road and struggle with parking? Let us know by emailing [email protected]
Another disgruntled resident said: “I drive past every morning and the amount of parents stopping abruptly, pulling up at double and single yellow lines, over driveways, and even just in the street to let their kids out is insane. Such a danger, and nobody seems to care!”
While another added: “We are a wheelchair-using couple, and there have been several occasions over the last few months where had it been ‘normal times’, we would have struggled to get out of the house because of people parking across dropped kerbs etc.
“I am not claiming exclusivity here or something like that, but it would be nice to be able to leave the house and not worry about crashing into a car.”
Bebington councillors are also aware of the issue.
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Cllr Jason Walsh, who represents the ward for the Green Party, said: “[The parking issue] is mostly [on] Heathfield Road, it’s a narrow road and more and more [sixth form] students are using it, as it’s the next nearest place [to their school] without parking restrictions.
“A number of people living on the road are elderly and so they have carers and other services which are not able to get to where they are supposed to be going.
“Last week or the week before a bin lorry was unable to get down there, as cars had parked all the way up the road.
“I have also asked the council to install more parking restrictions because people are parking quite close to the junction.”
He added: “It’s one step forward and six steps back.”
Looking at how the problem might be resolved, Cllr Williams said: “We need to minimise vehicle usage and look at better ways [of travelling] such as walking to school.
“There is a lot of good work going on with that at the moment in the environment committee through [Labour] councillor Liz Grey.”
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