We’ve had shortages of fruit and veg harvesters in farms, and are now seeing shortages of butchers and abattoir workers.
We’ve had shortages of nurses for years.
Our transport infrastructure is already suffering because of the shortage of hauliers, and now it is about to take a second hit because…
Local councils are saying they cannot pay drivers as much as haulage firms, meaning there won’t be any gritter lorries de-icing our highways during the winter:
Shortage of gritter drivers could leave motorists stuck on icy roads this winter, councils warn https://t.co/wo2BJppv6J
— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 11, 2021
This could bring the UK to a total standstill – and in the depths of winter, when we’ll need food and supplies that allow us to heat our homes more than ever.
Of course, the reason councils can’t afford to pay gritter drivers is simply that the government doesn’t pay them enough grant money to be able to afford the new going rates. Any resulting tragedies must then be laid at Boris Johnson’s door.
According to Sky News:
Transport spokesman David Renard added: “While most councils have been able to keep services running, some may find that their gritting services are affected in the same way that some have seen waste collection services impacted.”
Although he stressed that councils will be trying to plan ahead to ensure their winter services are resilient, he warned additional training for this on-demand sector will “not alleviate the short-term pressure on frontline services”.
Given these courses take up to 16 weeks to complete, trained drivers won’t be hitting the roads before Christmas – fuelling fears that shortages could overshadow this year’s festivities.
Mr Renard said: “Fast-inflating HGV driver salaries in the private sector risks exacerbating issues in the public sector, with the rises potentially creating a retention as well as a recruitment problem for councils and their contractors.”
It should be remembered that the government has tried to lure drivers back from the EU with a temporary HGV visa scheme.
However – and possibly because they remember being stuck in a Kent car park over last Christmas, with no toilet or washing facilities – very few drivers have taken up the offer. Very few:
Last week @BorisJohnson told @mrdanwalker @BBCBreakfast that 127 EU workers had applied for temporary HGV visas in the UK. Yesterday Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it was only 27. Why was this not raised with the Minister today? Surely BBC editorial guidelines require it? pic.twitter.com/wUzVNeuAVQ
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) October 11, 2021
This Writer saw a suggestion on the social media that even those 27 applications were not, in fact applicable.
The suggestion was that they were test applications relevant to each EU member state, made to ensure that the system was working properly!
And, of course, the Tories are also running into “sauce for the goose” arguments:
The @Conservatives are suddenly arguing that the shortage of HGV drivers is a consequence of poor pay and conditions. So presumably the same explanation applies re the shortage of nurses?
— Eva Feltham 💙 3.5% REJOINER FBPE FBPA #JohnsonOut (@MyGineration) October 10, 2021
Yes indeed – and we know that the government can’t blame poor pay and conditions for nurses on anybody else. It is therefore hypocritical of Johnson and his cronies to berate haulage firms over low pay when their derisory pay rise for NHS staff has now been translated into a pay cut by new conditions that their political choices have created.
All we can do now is hope for a mild winter.
If we get ice, there will be death on the roads – because of Boris Johnson and his godawful Brexit.
Worse still, the knock-on effect could bring death to our homes – and, depending on how often we all check on our neighbours, it could be weeks or months before we even know the total death toll.
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