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27th Sep 2021

European drivers ‘will not return to UK to fix sh*t they created’, warns haulage chief

Charlie Herbert

Petrol Shortage

One drivers union said they would not help the UK ‘get out of the sh*t they created themselves’

Haulage chiefs have warned that the government’s emergency programme to issue temporary visas to European HGV drivers is unlikely to attract them to the UK.

Over the weekend, Number 10 confirmed plans to issue 5,000 temporary visas to HGV drivers to help deal with the current fuel shortage facing the country, with 5,500 poultry workers also added to the scheme.

But the head of the European Road Haulers Association, Marco Digioia, has said that the measures fall short of what’s required and that drivers will not be attracted to the UK.

Digioia told the Observer that “much more would be needed”.

He said: “There is a driver shortage across Europe. I am not sure how many would want to go to the UK.”

Digioia pointed out that driver salaries are higher in Europe, with EU rules having improved working conditions on the continent and billions of euros had been pumped into funding for parking areas and support companies.

He explained: “The UK doesn’t have access to any of that. Tempting European drivers back to the UK when they also have to face the reality of customs and border checks, all the uncertainties of Brexit… We have to be realistic.”

Andrew Opie, from the British Retail Consortium, said that the 5,000 limit would “do little to alleviate the current shortfall.”

Meanwhile, an EU lorry drivers union told Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday morning (September 27) that they will “not go to the UK for short term vision to help the UK out of the sh*t they created themselves.”

The last few days has seen queues at petrol stations across the country, with up to 90 per cent now running dry. It’s as the haulage industry faces a 100,000 driver shortage, with fears that as Christmas approaches the situation is only going to worsen.

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