A temporary extension of lorry drivers’ working hours has been met with backlash from the industry who say the government is applying a “sticking plaster” to driver shortage problems.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announces ‘temporary extension’ of safety limits amid strain on the logistics industry.

“We’re aware of a shortage of HGV drivers, so I’m announcing a temp extension of drivers’ hours’ rules from Mon. 12 July, giving flexibility to drivers & operators to make slightly longer journeys,” the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, wrote in a Twitter post. “We’ve ramped up the number of driving tests available & will consider other measures.”

Premier Foods, one of Britain’s biggest food companies, last week called on the government to consider using the army to distribute goods.

The Covid-19 pandemic, which prompted many foreign workers to return home during the lockdown, and new immigration controls after Brexit have led to staff shortages in logistics and other sectors such as construction and hospitality.

Industry leaders have said there could be gaps on supermarket shelves this summer and a collapse of supply chains.

“Relaxing drivers’ hours won’t make any material difference – and fails to address the underlying issues, which require a package of measures to fix,” the RHA said. […]


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