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James O’Brien asks when people will see Brexit downsides, as food trade hits ‘crisis point’

18 June 2021, 14:58

By Fiona Jones

James O’Brien questioned when people will accept the pitfalls of Brexit, as Tesco is forced to bin almost 50,000 tonnes of fresh food every week due to severe shortage of heavy goods drivers in the UK.

Reported in industry publication The Grocer, Tesco made this admission during an industry-wide round-table organised by the Department for Transport.

Alongside exportation problems, the “chronic driver shortage and staff shortfalls” means a food shortage in the UK is “inevitable”, with imported goods being rarer and pricier, The Grocer said.

With food and drink exports to the EU from the UK almost halved, 65,000 HGV drivers are needed to fill the gap made by a mass exodus of EU drivers, according to Road Haulage Association.

The crisis is so severe one leading industry figure has called for the Government to put the Army on standby to transport food if the situation worsens.

James O’Brien reacted to this: “When will it become inarguable?”

“So I can tell you that 50 tonnes of food is currently being thrown away in Tesco, Tesco can say it is in large part, not entirely obviously, we’re in the middle of a pandemic still, Tesco will say it is in large part because of Brexit, we can’t get the drivers.

“You will say no it isn’t. I wonder at what point does it become inarguable?”

He pointed out that food and drink exports to anywhere outside the EU have returned “roughly to normal levels so [Covid] is not the reason.”

He cited his local convenience store a shortage of fresh produce, questioning whether that is part of a bigger picture, also noticing a slight increase of pictures of empty shelves on Twitter.

“I do wonder whether you are already feeling the pinch. As ever now, the people I really really really want to hear from are the people who are absolutely convinced there was never going to be any pinch.

James surmised, “So UK food and drink exports to the European Union have almost halved in the first three months of the year, meanwhile over at Tesco suppliers are being forced to bin nearly 50 tonnes of food a week due to a lorry driver crisis.

“Imagine in a normal country that wasn’t still enslaved to Brexit what the tabloid papers would be doing with the news that leading industry figures are calling for the army to be put on standby. Normally they love that, don’t they?

The people that prioritise flags over facts. They think that ten students taking down a photograph of the Queen is really really bad but Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the House of Commons, flying to Balmoral to lie to her is absolutely fine, normally they’d love this.

“They’ve got the Army on standby, this is outrageous! Nope, not a word. Not a sausage, not a syllable. Such a severe situation, according to one leading industry figure, that he’s calling for the Government to put the Army on standby to transport food.”

The suggestion was made by James Bielby, chief executive officer of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors.

He said: “The situation has reached crisis point and it is likely to get worse as more hospitality venues open and demand increases.

“We are concerned enough to suggest that the Government considers having Army trucks on standby to ensure there are enough vehicles and drivers to distribute food.”

Lanes reopen on M62 after crash involving car and lorry

ALL lanes have reopened on the M62 following a crash this dinnertime, Friday.

Two lanes were closed and queuing traffic was reported following a collision involving a car and a lorry on the eastbound carriageway.

It occurred between junction 10 for the M6 at Croft and junction 11 for Birchwood.

Lanes three and four, of four, were closed.

Highways England traffic officers and recovery crews were dispatched to the scene.

Also in attendance were police and ambulance crews.

References

  1. ^ #M62 (twitter.com)
  2. ^ #J10 (twitter.com)
  3. ^ #CroftInterchange (twitter.com)
  4. ^ #M6 (twitter.com)
  5. ^ #J11 (twitter.com)
  6. ^ #WarringtonEast (twitter.com)
  7. ^ #Birchwood (twitter.com)
  8. ^ #A574 (twitter.com)
  9. ^ @OfficialTfGM (twitter.com)
  10. ^ @manctraffic (twitter.com)
  11. ^ June 18, 2021 (twitter.com)

Lanes closed and queuing traffic on M62 due to crash involving car and lorry

TWO lanes are currently closed and queuing traffic is being reported on the M62 this dinnertime, Friday.

The cause of the disruption is a crash involving a car and a lorry on the eastbound carriageway.

It occurred between junction 10 for the M6 at Croft and junction 11 for Birchwood.

Lanes three and four, of four, are closed.

Highways England has confirmed that traffic officers and recovery crews have been dispatched to the scene.

Also in attendance are police and ambulance crews.

References

  1. ^ #M62 (twitter.com)
  2. ^ #J10 (twitter.com)
  3. ^ #CroftInterchange (twitter.com)
  4. ^ #M6 (twitter.com)
  5. ^ #J11 (twitter.com)
  6. ^ #WarringtonEast (twitter.com)
  7. ^ #Birchwood (twitter.com)
  8. ^ #A574 (twitter.com)
  9. ^ @OfficialTfGM (twitter.com)
  10. ^ @manctraffic (twitter.com)
  11. ^ June 18, 2021 (twitter.com)

Tesco suppliers forced to bin nearly 50 tonnes of food each week due to lorry driver ‘crisis’

Tesco suppliers are being forced to bin nearly 50 tonnes of fresh food every week because there are too few lorry drivers to transport produce to stores.

Around 48 tonnes of food – enough to fill two trucks – destined for Tesco is being thrown away every week as a result of a severe shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers in the UK.

The admission, first reported by industry publication The Grocer[1], was made during an industry-wide round-table organised by the Department for Transport and marks the first time a supermarket chain has broken cover to lay out to Government the extent to which the lack of drivers is affecting the food and drink sector.

It comes after i revealed that some products have begun disappearing from shelves[2] and prices are likely to increase because of the of the severe driver shortage.

Suppliers are being forced to delay or cancel thousands delivery loads every week to supermarkets and restaurants because haulage firms cannot find enough drivers to transport the produce.

The shelf-life of fresh produce is reduced and can spoil before it even leaves the wholesalers while Supermarkets often deem short-dated goods delivered late to distribution centres and stores unsellable.  

More than 65,000 HGV drivers are needed to make up for the shortfall, according to the Road Haulage Association[3].

The crisis is so severe one leading industry figure has called for the Government to put the Army on standby to transport food if the situation worsens.

“The situation has reached crisis point and it is likely to get worse as more hospitality venues open and demand increases,” said James Bielby, chief executive officer of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors.

“We are concerned enough to suggest that the Government considers having Army trucks on standby to ensure there are enough vehicles and drivers to distribute food.”

The shortage has been attributed to a combination of factors including Brexit, which led to an exodus of EU-based drivers, tax changes, which have driven up hauliers costs and a lack of driver training and tests during the pandemic preventing newcomers from joining the workforce.

@kt_grant[4]

References

  1. ^ The Grocer (www.thegrocer.co.uk)
  2. ^ some products have begun disappearing from shelves (inews.co.uk)
  3. ^ Road Haulage Association (www.rha.uk.net)
  4. ^ @kt_grant (twitter.com)