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An article reporting on the possible upcoming food shortages in UK supermarkets, published by Express.co.uk yesterday, has received more than a thousand comments. Many Britons are angry with the food industry, with some saying the issue would be fixed if bosses paid labourers more, or trained British workers to become lorry drivers.
A shortage of drivers in Britain has reached “crisis point”, industry leaders have warned.
Due to this issue, supermarkets have already missed deliveries and sold out on stock.
If the problem persists, supermarkets could be “weeks away” from empty shelves.
A letter written by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and signed by 20 industry bosses was sent to Downing Street this week, urging the prime minister to act.
The letter stated that the number of HGV drivers had reduced by 100,000 since the start of the pandemic.
This is due to a number of factors, including Brexit, the pandemic, the dwindling of the furlough scheme, and the start of the summer holidays.
Many European Union (EU) citizens have returned home to the mainland and the problem cannot be solved by training British labourers, industry leaders claim.
Additionally, with many Britons staying at home this summer, demand on products will be higher than usual.
In the letter, the RHA asked Boris Johnson to bring back EU workers.
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The letter said: “Prior to the pandemic, we estimated a shortage in excess of 60,000.
“Several factors have exacerbated the shortage which is now at crisis point (over 100,000) and critical supply chains are failing.
“We ask for the introduction of a temporary worker visa for HGV drivers and for this occupation to be added to the Home Office Shortage Occupation List.”
Richard Burnett, CEO of the RHA, told ITV News this week: “We are weeks away from gaps on the shelves, it is as serious as that.
“The government needs to treat this as an absolute priority.”
Britons have expressed their opinion on this, with some saying they have already seen empty shelves in supermarkets.
One person commented: “Shortages? Empty shelves? Tell me something – we shop at Morrisons and it’s the norm.”
Another person agreed, saying: “Us as well, the shelves are always low and restocked slowly it seems.”
One person added: “It’s the norm everywhere.”
Another person wrote: “The ‘just in time’ method used by many companies means that they are always just days or even hours away from shut down or shortages. The idea is it saves them holding stock as the goods from their supplies arrive just in time to avoid the production line or running out of something.”
Other people claimed the problem would be solved if industry bosses paid their workers more, or employed more British citizens to train as lorry drivers.
One person said: “Offer free HGV courses to people on the dole, let’s get Britain working.”
Another person wrote: “I’ve got a great idea. Why doesn’t the transport industry retrain the hundreds of thousands of workers with a PSV licence and an HGV 1 licence, and the million plus van delivery drivers to drive Artics? Also why doesn’t the market gardening industry attract the three million students, school leavers, and over 16 school kids looking for summer jobs. Has anyone got a brain out there?”
One person said: “Here’s an idea. How about paying people better money than the minimum wage then they might do it.”
Another person agreed. They said: “Offer decent pay and get rid of zero hour contracts and the workers will come knocking in droves!”
One person wrote: “Yet Amazon can deliver next day! I would say it is a shortage of good management.”
Other Express readers blamed Brexit for the labour and food shortages.
One person said: “People are so used to be able to buy anything in the supermarkets they choose, they are in for a big shock. People didn’t think Brexit through, it was mainly about immigrants and reclaiming our boards which has never happened. We got 60 percent of our food from the continent and it’s impossible for Britain to feed itself. It will never affect the Government or the rich, just taxpayers, who they live off.”
Another person wrote: “There were no shortages before Brexit. The EU workers have gone back home and will not return. The pound is still weak since its collapse when the Brexit vote was announced. Lorry drivers, hospitality staff and farmhands prefer being paid in euros. And they are happier in their own countries where they do not suffer from xenophobia.”