Tory MP calls on retired HGV drivers to return to work to save Christmas

26 September 2021, 13:45

By Seán Hickey

This Brexiteer thinks government should introduce legislation allowing retirees drive HGVs to plug gaps in British supply chains.

"The problem with lorry drivers in the UK is endemic and long-running" Andrew Bridgen MP told Tom Swarbrick. He appeared on a special edition of Swarbrick on Sunday live from the Labour Party conference in Brighton.

Read more: Drivers pack cars with jerry cans and £30 cap introduced as panic-buyers scramble for fuel

"We were 50,000 drivers short six years ago, we're 100,000 drivers short now" the Conservative MP pointed out.

Mr Bridgen insisted that the current shortage of HGV drivers plaguing British supply chains was "a problem of wages and working conditions".

Read more: 'Stop being stupid!' NHS workers urge Brits to stop panic-buying fuel

"A problem at least solved partially by the bringing in of labour from Europe under the agreement we had with the European Union which we're now going back to," Tom interjected.

"What does that say about the post-Brexit immigration plan of this government?"

Read more: David Lammy: 'Clearly we are heading for a winter of discontent'

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"The situation is very acute at the moment" the Brexit advocate insisted, noting that EU workers coming in to alleviate shortages are a mere "sticking plaster" on the issue.

"It's like a lifetime alcoholic nipping back to the bar for one more drink, it's not going to solve the problem."

Read more: Lord Adonis: 'Brexit red tape' responsible for HGV crisis

Mr Bridgen insisted that "we're not short of qualified lorry drivers" and noted that "one obstacle to those returning immediately, even if it was only part-time to help out as a retiree, is they have to have a driver's CPC qualification now". He explained that this qualification was brought in by the EU and is currently preventing retirees come back to work to help.

He argued that parliament should be recalled to have a vote to suspend the qualification which would "let us get back on track."

The Tory MP concluded that "we can get all these retirees back to work in the industry to get us through Christmas until we get a new trench of lorry drivers" by making such a small measure such as suspending CPC qualifications.

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