British driver shortage: shop-owners get behind the wheel to ensure supplies

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Some British shop-owners didn't have any other option last weekend but to sit behind the wheel and collect the stock they need as their suppliers don't have enough drivers, reports the Financial Times. Farmers, food producers and stores are calling on the authorities to take action. However, the government says it has already applied the relaxation of driver's hours' regulations to ease the difficulties.

British driver shortage: shop-owners get behind the wheel to ensure supplies
N Chadwick/

The Financial Times (FT) published a report on driver shortage today featuring nearly all the participants of food supply chain.

A shop owner who is part of the Nisa co-op chain describes his struggles in the article: he had to get behind the wheel last weekend as the shop ran out of milk and bread. He spent a good 12-hour-long shift collecting all the stock he needed as the supplier had failed to deliver them.

Another Nisa shop owner added that he had to find a new bread supplier as the well-known brand Warburtons stopped delivering his order this week.

However, it is not only shop-owners who are struggling; farmers and meat producers don’t have the workforce to keep up with normal production and they are struggling to provide transportation of their products. Big supermarket chains like Tesco, Aldi and Waitrose are increasing wages and offering bonuses to drivers to be able to meet the demand.

The Association of Convenience Stores and some UK employers are urging the government to exempt fully vaccinated drivers and shop staff from self-isolation if they are exposed to Covid-19 but test negative. That change is not planned until August 16.

When the Financial Times reached out to the government to comment on the problems transportation and food industry facing, the government said:

“We recently announced a package of measures to help tackle the HGV driver shortage, including plans to streamline the process for new drivers to gain their HGV licence and to increase the number of tests able to be conducted.”

„We have also temporarily relaxed drivers’ hours' rules to allow HGV drivers to make slightly longer journeys” – the spokesperson added.

Photo credit @ N Chadwick and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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