The government is issuing emergency visas to foreign lorry drivers to deal with supply-chain issues – but they will run out on Christmas Eve and people think that is pretty ridiculous.
5,000 HGV drivers – together with 5,500 poultry workers – will be offered the right to work in the UK to cope with the shortfall of staff – caused in part by Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic – but only in the run-up to the festive period.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “This government continues to do everything we can to help the haulage and food industries contend with the HGV driver shortage.
“After a very difficult 18 months, I know how important this Christmas is for all of us and that’s why we’re taking these steps at the earliest opportunity to ensure preparations remain on track.”
But reacting to the news, people thought Johnson was pretty Scrooge-like to invite people in then send them packing just before Christmas:
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As well as the festive PR nightmare, experts have claimed the visa programme will be insufficient in dealing with the crisis.
The British Chambers of Commerce said the measures were the equivalent of “throwing a thimble of water on a bonfire”.
And the Road Haulage Association said the announcement “barely scratches the surface”, adding that only offering visas until Christmas Eve “will not be enough for companies or the drivers themselves to be attractive”.
With all this in mind, it seems Boris Johnson will be receiving a lump of coal in his stocking this Christmas – if the supply-chain can get it to him in time.