The transport secretary insisted Brexit is part of the solution in the lorry driver shortages – but was slammed by Labour’s David Lammy for Tory party promises which “have not been delivered”.
Grant Shapps said people who say Brexit is the problem behind the lack of HGV drivers “are wrong”, as the shortage continues to wreck havoc among supermarket shelves and petrol stations.
He told Sky News today that the problem is a “global one”,, suggesting Britain’s problems must not stem from Brexit and insisting the pandemic is the “principal cause”.
He added: “Brexit actually has provided part of the solution of giving more slots available for HGV tests and there are a lot more – twice as many – tests available now than before the pandemic.
“A large proportion of those we’ve only been able to do because we are no longer in the EU.”
David Lammy slams Grant Shapps and Tory party for Brexit promises
Labour’s shadow chancellor David Lammy told Shapps that Brits are “looking at a winter of discontent”.
“We have shortages of staff, shortages of supplies and shortages of skills. Why has this happened?”, he said during BBC’s Question Time.
He added: “It’s largely happened because of the promises that your party made on Brexit which have not been delivered. Where is the trade deal with the United States? Where is the trade deal with India? We haven’t got one.
“Why haven’t you invested in further education? Of course we need to get on with the visa so that these people can come in.
“And it’s not just HGV, it’s fruit pickers, it’s caterers, it’s people in concert halls, right across this country there are shortages. You promised that immigration would come down. And you know that it will need to go up if we’re to deal with these problems.”
Newspapers in the EU report UK shortages
Meanwhile, newspapers throughout Europe are talking about UK shortages and Brexit.
Spanish daily El País said last week that Brexit, worker shortages and the pandemic are hitting supplies in the United Kingdom.
Referencing shortages that plagued Britain in the 1970s, eventually leading to the arrival of Margaret Thatcher’s neoliberalism, the newspaper said Britain is returning to the days when it was “not uncommon to make excuses for breach of contract.”
Also in Spain, La Vanguardia talks about KFC struggling to find chickens and having to close branches and McDonald’s not serving milkshakes and soft drinks.
“In many many shops and supermarkets there isn’t milk, and the image of empty shelves has become usual, as if it were a boycotted Cuba,” the paper reported earlier this month.
French daily Libération used an almost bare toilet roll with the last sheet hanging reading “Brexit”.
Europe’s reporting of post-Brexit Britain sparked many reactions – with one user saying: “Brexit and its consequences are news all over the globe because what is happening in the UK isn’t happening there.
“Regardless of what the UK government says, the UK is in serious trouble.”