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Brexiteer rubbishes Remainer panic over lorry shortages: ‘US turning to 14-year-olds!’

3 min read

Redwood says shortage of HGV drivers ‘isn’t a Brexit issue’

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Since the UK left the EU on January 1, warnings of food shortages and a lack of lorry drivers have been sounded by supermarkets and industry leaders. Brexit has been blamed for the issues, but Conservative MPs have also pointed to the coronavirus pandemic and other issues with training as to blame for the shortages.

John Redwood, Conservative MP for Wokingham, took to Twitter to refute claims Brexit is behind supermarket and lorry driver shortages.

He said: “Poland short of lorry drivers. The USA turning to 14-year-olds to fill jobs in hospitality.

“Those ’Brexit’ problems popping up in lots of different countries!”

David Bannerman, former Tory MEP, also said recently a shortfall in lorry drivers were “definitely not (because of) Brexit then” as other countries suffer the same issues.

Mr Redwood referenced reports from the US where a McDonald’s in Oregon asked “14 and 15-year-olds” to apply for jobs.

Restaurant operator Heather Coleman told Business Insider: “There are always staffing issues, but this is unheard of.”

Earlier this year, an Ohio Burger King also called for 14 and 15-year-olds to apply.

A sign read: “Do you have a 14- or 15-year-old? Do they need a job?? We will hire them!”

The US Department of Labor states 14 years old is the minimum age for nonagricultural jobs.

In Poland and throughout Europe there has been a massive shortfall of HGV drivers.

While Britain is facing a shortfall of 100,000 drivers, mainland Europe is experiencing a lack of 400,000 drivers.

Research by logistics analysts Transport Intelligence found that Germany was missing between 45,000 and 60,000 HGV drivers last year.

The International Road Transport Union warned of a 185,000 shortfall in Germany by 2027.

The country worst affected by the lorry shortfall is Poland, with a shortage of around 100,000 drivers according to the Daily Mail.

Throughout 2021, supermarkets and trade associations warned there could be food shortages unless the Government eases post-Brexit visa rules for EU workers.

The chairman of Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket, has said that more HGV drivers are needed to meet a shortfall of almost 100,000.

However, the Government has so far stood firm on the situation and its will to honour the result of the Brexit vote.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The British people repeatedly voted to end free movement and take back control of our immigration system.

“Employers should invest in our domestic workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad.”

It comes after former Chief Economist and current economics fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Julian Jessop told that Brexit was only playing a “small part” in the lorry driver shortage.

“There are many reasons for the shortages of HGV drivers, with Brexit only playing a small part,” he said.

“The main factors are due to Covid, including a big fall in the number of driving tests, international travel restrictions and of course the ‘pingdemic’.”

Mr Jessop continued: “And many other countries, including in the rest of Europe, are struggling with a lack of drives as their economies rebound.”

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