Speaking in response to Boris Johnson’s comments that the supply chain issues currently being experienced in the UK are the fault of the haulage and logistics industry, David Wells, CEO of business group Logistics UK said:
“To suggest that the current issues being experienced in the supply chain are the fault of the very industry which has kept the country supplied with everything it needs throughout the pandemic is, quite frankly wrong.
“The government is well aware that that there are two recent shocks to the system which have created the current problems: 19,000 HGV drivers leaving the UK because of Covid and Brexit and the DVSA’s decision to stop the testing of 45,000 new HGV drivers during the pandemic. Rather than trying to shift the blame for the current situation onto industry, we need government to redouble its efforts to provide assistance in those areas it can control.
“The first positive step would be to extend the number and duration of temporary visas recently made available to EU drivers, to enable them to ease the current pressures on the supply chain and provide enough time for the backlog of driving tests to be worked through so that UK residents can qualify as drivers. This is not uncontrolled immigration; it is a pragmatic solution to the current economic needs.
“In an effort to improve the image and accessibility of the industry, and improve recruitment levels, government must deliver on the promises it has made repeatedly over the past four years to deliver more safe and secure overnight parking spaces for HGVs across the roads network. Without changes to planning rules, little or no progress can be made on the creation of the 1,400 parking spaces the government acknowledges our industry currently needs.”
Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With COVID-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.