Network chief calls for more European drivers

The chief executive of a Black Country palletised nework is calling on the Government to allow more European Union drivers to come back to work in the UK.

Caroline Green, chief executive of Pallet-Track
Caroline Green, chief executive of Pallet-Track

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has called for businesses to prioritise hiring UK-based workers rather than relying on labour from abroad to fix a national shortage of lorry drivers.

Pallet-Track's Caroline Green said: “This is a long-term goal and what we need now is a short-term fix.

“We do need to hire more UK drivers but it takes six to nine months to hire and train them, plus we have had to contend with a huge backlog of tests."

She added that the driver shortage was having an impact is having on the supply chain, with even big brands such as McDonalds and Nando’s struggling to stock staple items.

“We appreciate the industry needs to address the underlying issues around attracting, testing, training and retaining drivers and we are relying on the forward-thinking actions of our network members to help address this. But more immediate Government measures are needed right now to support UK supply chains.

“We saw 14,000 EU lorry drivers leave jobs in the UK in the year to June 2020, but only 600 returned by July 2021. The UK Government changing its stance on visas for HGV drivers is just one way we could potentially tempt some drivers back to work here," said Mrs Green, who is based at pallet-Track's Ettingshall headquarters.

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