In the face of a scarcity of HGV drivers, a haulage sector chief has backed the choice to exit the EU.
Attempts have been made to link the EU referendum outcome with supply chain problems and petrol station shortages, but Brexit has been defended as a “good thing” for Britain’s HGV driving sector.
Far from being a result of the UK exiting the EU, Andrew Eburne, managing director of J Coates HGV Services Ltd, told GB News that the lorry driver shortage is “incentivised” to apply for driver employment since pay has increased.
According to Mr Eburne, who spoke to GB News, “Brexit is a good thing for the industry or a good thing for the country as regards to the driver situation.”
“Before Brexit, the industry was relying on cheap labour coming in from Europe. No doubt about that.”
“Which then prevented or it did not incentivise UK citizens to do those jobs because they didn’t feel that it was paid enough.”
“Now the wages are going through the roof, we get inundated with phone calls with people wanting to be drivers.”
Mr Eburne went on to say: “We are seeing on a daily basis a lot of older drivers coming back to the industry because the wages are going up.”
“They have gone away, done something else and come back.”
“There’s guys who just want to do part-time work. It gives you such a wide variety of work.”
“There is always going to be a need for drivers.”
Almost 200 military soldiers, including 100 drivers, have been trained at haulier sites and will begin deliveries to assist alleviate the situation at gas stations, which ministers claim is stabilising.
Following criticism of its attraction to drivers, the government also announced that a temporary visa scheme for roughly 5,000 foreign food haulage drivers, which was set to expire on December 24, will now be extended until the end of February.
Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “The Government has taken decisive action to tackle the short-term disruption to our supply chains, and in particular the flow of fuel to forecourts.”
“We are now seeing the impact of these interventions with more fuel being delivered to forecourts than sold and, if people continue to revert to their normal buying patterns, we will see smaller queues and prevent petrol stations closing.”
Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, added: “UK forecourt stock levels are trending up, deliveries of fuel to forecourts are above normal levels, and fuel demand is stabilising.”
“It’s important to stress there is no national shortage of fuel in the UK, and people should continue to buy fuel as normal.”
The government claims there is no national fuel shortage, but Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the Daily Mail that supply networks in other industries have been disrupted globally.
He stated in the newspaper: “We’re seeing real disruptions in supply chains in different sectors, not just here but around the world,” he says. “We are determined to do what we can to try to mitigate as much of this as we can.”