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British Driver Shortage Worsens, As PM 'Dodges Question'

Published on Jul 2 2021 8:23 AM in Retail tagged: UK / Boris Johnson / HGV / Driver Shortage / RHA / Road Haulage Association

British Driver Shortage Worsens, As PM 'Dodges Question'

A shortage of truck drivers in the UK is affecting service levels for major brands supplying supermarkets, with Haribo and Danone among those citing delivery challenges.

According to trade publication The Grocer, Haribo has pulled promotional activity in order to ensure availability to stores, citing a shortage of drivers.

'Haribo are experiencing an unprecedented and sustained surge in demand,' the confectionery company said in a statement seen by the trade publication. 'We are working flat out to manage the situation. We are faced with several challenges throughout our supply chain including a shortage of drivers.'

Elsewhere, Danone Waters also issued a note to customers, saying ,'We do not have the required amount of trucks and drivers to cover customer demand, this is due to a national shortage', according to the trade publication.

Road Haulage Association Writes To PM

The UK's Road Haulage Association has written to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging that the matter be urgently addressed.

'Empty shelves are already becoming apparent and, if not urgently addressed, the situation will only get worse,' the group said, with RHA chief executive Richard Bunett noting that there has "never been a more challenging time for this industry".

Burnett urged the government to take "decisive steps to ensure that we can continue to maintain the UK’s integrated and finely balanced supply chains".

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The letter was co-signed by the chief executives of several major logistics firms, including Eddie Stobart, Wincanton, XPO Logistics, Samworth Brothers and others, as well as groups including the Food and Drink Federation and British Frozen Food Federation.

Dodging The Question

However, the RHA has also accused Johnson of 'dodging the question' at a Prime Ministers' Questions session during the week.

On Wednesday, Glasgow East MP, David Linden (SNP) asked the Prime Minister on why HGV drivers aren’t on the Shortage Occupation List, which would enable firms to temporarily recruit drivers from abroad.

'Mr Johnson glossed over the question saying he’d “look at what he’s [Linden] proposing”, before moving on to talk about the Covid vaccination roll out,' the RHA said.

© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. For more Retail news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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