To address the problems in supply chains, the UK government plans to permit foreign lorry drivers more delivery in the UK.
Drivers coming from EU countries can currently only make 2 trips per week to transport goods.
The government is trying to ease the restrictions so that they can travel unlimited within two weeks.
Although ministers expect the changes to be in place by Christmas, drivers from the UK are concerned that they may lose their job to EU counterparts who might be cheaper.
Covid and Brexit combined with other factors have caused a shortage in lorry drivers in the UK. This has affected supermarkets, petrol stations, and made it impossible to move containers at Felixstowe Port.
The retailers warned that there may be a shortage of toys and other Christmas items, so shoppers are urged to get gifts as soon as possible.
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Although the government said last month that they would give up to 5,000 HGV drivers who are from overseas temporary visas, so far only a few have been approved.
According to sources, the visa program may take another month for the first driver from abroad, Carrie Davies (BBC transport correspondent) has been informed.
Now ministers want to go further. They plan to modify temporary cabotage regulations, which regulate how many hauliers can work in a foreign nation.
Foreign HGV drivers can bring goods with them to the country and pick up items at any time for two weeks.
After a consultation lasting one week, the changes must be approved. However, if they are passed, they will become effective “towards this year for as much as six months”, according the government.
According to the government, this will result in more HGV deliveries per month. This would allow for more goods to be delivered on time, particularly food and other items coming through ports.
The haulage sector expressed concerns.
The Road Haulage Association stated that many British hauliers would be disappointed at the possibility of their work going to EU companies at a moment when the government was apparently promoting the job for a new generation. They don’t want uncontrolled migration – at least not for six months.
While it could help Christmas supply chain, there are potential effects for hardworking UK haulage businesses that may be affected by the loss of work to EU counterparts.
Grant Shapps (Transport Secretary) said that long-term solutions to supply chain challenges “must include developing a high skilled, high-wage UK market”.
He spoke however about the new measures and said that the temporary changes to the cabotage rules are being discussed by him. “The temporaries we’re discussing will ensure foreign hauliers can make efficient use of their time in order to get more goods in the supply chains at times when there is high demand.”
France’s finance minister says the UK is doing worse in the supply-chain crisis due to its exit from the single market.
Bruno Le Maire said that all countries are in the same position at Washington’s G7 Meeting. But, the fact we are members of a single important market allows us to face these bottlenecks.
To address the crisis of worker workers in slaughterhouses, the government also announced Thursday that hundreds of international abattoir workers would be granted temporary visas.
Due to a shortage in staff at abattoirs, the pigs are not being slaughtered quickly enough. Farm space is limited so they are forced to be killed by farmers.
According to the National Pig Association, 6,600 healthy pigs have been killed by farmers due to backlog.
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