The UK Government announced on Friday a relaxation of the rules on the number of deliveries that foreign truck drivers are allowed to carry out in the United Kingdom. This should alleviate the problems of shortages and supply in the run-up to Christmas.
Currently, European Union (EU) drivers can only make two deliveries within seven days of their arrival in the UK. According to the new rules, which the government hopes to introduce before Christmas, they will be able to make an unlimited number of trips in a two-week period. “This is equivalent to adding thousands of truck drivers to our roads,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Sky News Friday. He promised that the measures would come “by the end of the year”.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit, the United Kingdom has a shortage of around 100,000 truck drivers. This has been causing serious supply problems for several weeks for supermarkets in the country, as well as for filling stations that run out of fuel. In addition, the shortage of truckers is leading to a considerable backlog in British ports, which means that container ships have to be diverted to European ports or have to wait for days at sea. This backlog will take another six to nine months, the British port Association BPA recently announced.
Moreover, the UK also suffers from a shortage of butchers, causing fear of mass slaughter because there is not enough capacity to process the animals into meat or keep them on farms. To address that problem, the government recently announced that it will issue 800 temporary visas to foreign butchers.