A Shortage Of Lorry Drivers Could Lead To Panic Buying In The Run-Up To Christmas, Warns Tesco

Tesco is advising customers to expect the return of panic buying in the run-up to Christmas as bosses call on ministers to help end the lorry driver deficit.

The supermarket giant announced it was currently experiencing a shortfall of about 800 HGV drivers as it urged the Government to relax restrictions on foreign workers to help ease the supply chain crisis.

Despite being the United Kingdom’s biggest supermarket chain, offering new workers a £1,000 bonus since July, Andrew Woolfenden, Tesco’s distribution and fulfilment director, warned they were still unable to make up the lost numbers.

Nationally, food supply chains have been put under extreme pressure because of a deficit of about 100,000 HGV drivers, with empty racks across most UK supermarkets as a consequence.

Slamming the problem as industry-wide, Andrew Woolfenden compared companies frantically seeking to hire from a limited pool of expert drivers to moving deckchairs around.

He warned ITV News that their concern was that the images of bare shelves would get ten times more serious by Christmas and then they’ll get panic buying.

Despite gaps appearing on supermarket racks across the nation this summer, customers are yet to see a return of full-scale panic buying that was endured at the start of the pandemic.

However concerns are continuing to grow should demand abruptly rise again, with replenishing empty racks already a problem for most major UK retailers.

Trade association Logistics UK has called on ministers to provide up to 10,000 temporary work visas for qualified EU drivers to paper over the cracks.

The Government has so far denied these calls, instead insisting firms recruit from a pool of British workers.

It comes as shorter, fast-track HGV tests have been mooted as a possible answer to help plug the spiralling vacancies in the haulier industry.

Industry experts say better pay and improved working conditions are required to further improve staffing levels and put the deficit mostly down to Brexit and the pandemic, which led to 14,000 European drivers going home and just 600 of those returning.

The Road Haulage Association said the total number of people in the United Kingdom with HGV licences this summer is 516,000. But the latest Department for Transport data reveals 278,700 HGV drivers were employed in 2020, equal to 54 per cent of the total.

The crisis, which has also been made more acute by COVID-related delays to testing new drivers, has seen supermarket racks across the nation go empty as companies strive to restock their merchandise.

In short, prices will be going up again, and then some, and the last time inflation was high, the Tories were in charge. They can’t seem to run the economy for the vast preponderance of the public – only for their monied friends.

If this crisis goes on, they will have to ration people, as they did in World War II.

What the government should be doing is encouraging people to pass their HGV licence, which means they would have to put cash in the pot for that kind of thing, but it seems the only way so that people who want to work can get the aid they need from Boris Johnson, that way we would have more lorries on the road, and no deficits because sometimes you have to invest to speculate.

The other problem is that there are UK lorry drivers with an HGV licence but they refuse to take a reduction in wages.

This is a real head-scratcher, but here’s a mad idea, pay them more than minimum wage and accept that costs have to go up to support a salary that makes it an attractive career.

Published by Angela Lloyd

My vision on life is pretty broad, therefore I like to address specific subjects that intrigue me. Therefore I really appreciate the world of politics, though I have no actual views on who I will vote for, that I will not tell you, so please do not ask! I am like an observation station when it comes to writing, and I simply take the news and make it my own. I have no expectations, I simply love to write, and I know this seems really odd, but I don't get paid for it, I really like what I do and since I am never under any pressure, I constantly find that I write much better, rather than being blanketed under masses of paperwork and articles that I am on a deadline to complete. The chances are, that whilst all other journalists are out there, ripping their hair out, attempting to get their articles completed, I'm simply rambling along at my convenience creating my perfect piece. I guess it must look pretty unpleasant to some of you that I work for nothing, perhaps even brutal. Perhaps I have an obvious disregard for authority, I have no idea, but I would sooner be working for myself, than under somebody else, excuse the pun! Small I maybe, but substantial I will become, eventually. My desk is the most chaotic mess, though surprisingly I know where everything is, and I think that I would be quite unsuited for a desk job. My views on matters vary and I am extremely open-minded to the stuff that I write about, but what I write about is the truth and getting it out there, because the people must be acquainted. Though I am quite entertained by what goes on in the world. My spotlight is mostly to do with politics, though I do write other material as well, but it's essentially politics that I am involved in, and I tend to concentrate my attention on that, however, information is essential. If you have information the possibilities are endless because you are only limited by your own imagination...

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