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Emergency action must be taken by the Prime Minister to tackle ongoing food and fuel shortages say Labour

The Government must take “emergency action” to get a grip on the HGV driver shortage that is causing chaos for families across the UK, Labour has warned.

Keir Starmer has challenged the Prime Minister to:

  • Get petrol to stations in areas of the country most in need now by using the military they’ve got on standby as an emergency measure
  • Ask stations where there is supply to extend opening hours to help NHS shift workers and other key workers
  • Recall parliament so we can issue the visas we need now for short-term capacity and make sure there is a plan to secure supply chains for the Winter
  • Hold an emergency summit of the road haulage industry, training providers, affected business groups, Government ministers and transport unions to focus on the immediate crisis and on finally addressing the pay, terms, training, licensing and conditions of drivers which has led to such serious labour shortages.

The Government has been criticised by many sectors for failing to plan for, and deal with, supply chain issues.

Ministers announced on 26 September a policy to provide 5,000 new visas for HGV drivers through the Temporary Workers’ Scheme. But nothing has happened.

Advice received from parliamentary clerks on the Government’s suggested legislative solution that would give themselves the legal powers needed – via a “statement of change” to the Immigration Rules – are only able to be issued whilst the House is sitting.

Keir Starmer MP, said:

“We’re going to see this driver shortage problem coming back again in different sectors. And I don’t want people in this country to have another Christmas ruined by this Prime Minister’s lack of planning.

“By the Government’s own admission, their scheme won’t be up and running for weeks with the first HGV drivers not on the roads until November. This simply isn’t good enough.

“Every day wasted is prolonging this crisis. The Government has been talking about issuing visas but still hasn’t done anything. Meanwhile our essential workers are struggling to get to work and families face a cost of living crisis.

“The Prime Minister should be taking emergency action today but yet again he’s failed to grasp the seriousness of the crisis. If it needs legislation, then let’s recall Parliament to get these emergency measures through urgently.

“The Prime Minister promised to save Christmas last year and we all know that went disastrously wrong. Now he’s making the same empty promises again. Boris Johnson was warned about this crisis and he did nothing about it. He had the chance to make a plan but ignored it. The Prime Minister needs to get a grip.”

Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, added:

“The country is in desperate need of leadership to contain this chaos, yet it is Tory complacency that has led to the fuel crisis, energy costs crisis, and supply chain crisis.

 “Ministers have been ignoring warnings from businesses and failing to plan ahead and government  decision-making is now making the situation worse for our city.

“The Prime Minister must get a grip and address the huge shortfall of HGV drivers that is causing mayhem in our supply chains.”

The Portsmouth MP is calling for government to urgently address the HGV driver shortfall, including referring the issue of adding HGV drivers to the Shortage Occupation List to the Migration Advisory Committee to provide advice to government to help address the crisis in the short-term, and to set up a taskforce to work sector by sector to identify gaps and recruit into key roles.

This should include rapidly expanding testing for HGV drivers, and part or wholly funding HGV training drawing on available funding for targeted sectors and recruiting. The Government should also support 100,000 new apprentices this financial year to help boost employment in key sectors.