Hire UK workers to drive lorries, minister tells firms

2 weeks ago 15

Businesses person been told to prioritise hiring UK-based workers alternatively than relying connected labour from overseas to hole a shortage of lorry drivers.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng rejected calls from firms to loosen migration rules, saying it would beryllium a "short-term impermanent solution".

Companies should look to those facing an "uncertain future" erstwhile the furlough strategy ends adjacent month, helium said.

Several firms person said a deficiency of drivers has led to merchandise shortages.

A operation of Covid, post-Brexit migration rules and different factors has meant determination are not capable drivers to conscionable demand, with the shortage affecting household brands specified arsenic Nando's and McDonald's.

The Road Haulage Association has antecedently estimated determination is simply a shortage of much than 100,000 drivers successful the UK, retired of a pre-pandemic full of astir 600,000.

According to a missive to commercialized bodies the British Retail Consortium and Logistics UK seen by the BBC, Mr Kwarteng said portion adding HGV drivers to the shortage concern database would supply a short-term solution, galore UK-based workers present look an "uncertain future" and needed to find work.

He stressed that businesses should beryllium "utilising the spot of our home workforce".

Mr Kwarteng said the HGV drivers would not beryllium eligible for a skilled idiosyncratic visa - which would let overseas workers to travel to the UK - oregon beryllium added to the Shortage Occupation List.

He added that the authorities had confirmed backing of up to £7,000 per apprenticeship from August for radical grooming to beryllium a lorry driver, portion determination was besides assistance backing to bid subject work leavers, ex-offenders and the semipermanent unemployed to determination into lorry driving.

The government's furlough strategy - called the Job Retention Scheme - was brought successful to support jobs during the pandemic is owed to extremity connected 30 September.

National Farmers Union vice president Tom Bradshaw said it was "simplistic" to reason that ending furlough would pb to an summation successful workers to capable the existent precocious fig of vacancies.

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image captionDairy elephantine Arla has been among the firms affected by operator shortages

On Friday supermarket concatenation Morrisons became the latest institution to articulation the increasing chorus of calls for lorry drivers to beryllium eligible for Skilled Worker visas to let them to enactment successful the UK.

Worker shortages are not conscionable affecting nutrient and logistics firms, with pig producers informing that a shortage of labour astatine abattoirs is causing a surplus of pigs to beryllium stuck astatine farms.

Food producers person warned that sustained increases successful wages to effort to capable gaps successful their workforce volition effect successful consumers paying much for produce

Elsewhere, a study by a radical of 12 commercialized bodies successful the food, portion and hospitality sectors said "chronic labour shortages" span the full of the proviso chain, from cultivation workers done to waiting staff.

Tim O'Malley, managing manager astatine nutrient steadfast Nationwide Produce, said the manufacture needs to marque its jobs much charismatic to UK workers.

He said: "If we are going to summation wage and moving conditions to pull British workers past we are going to person to wage much for our food, we are going to spot nutrient terms inflation."

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