By Ron Howells • 10 October 2021 • 9:31
UK food supply chain crisis expected to continue past Christmas. image: Twitter
The UK’s food supply chain crisis is expected to continue past Christmas.
UK Ministers have expanded a fast-track scheme to allow thousands of more people to be trained as HGV drivers. However, the trainees will not complete their courses in time to alleviate the food supply chain crisis in the run-up to Christmas. Suppliers of a host of festive essentials have warned that stocks might not be quite at the levels that the British public are used to.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said on Sunday, October 10, that 2,000 additional places would be opened up through “skills bootcamps” to boost the number of lorry drivers – but the courses, lasting up to 16 weeks, will not start until next month.
It brings the total number of new HGV drivers to 5,000, after ministers announced last month that 3,000 people would be able to train under the scheme.
“To help more people into the industry, we’re expanding our skills bootcamps offer to support 5,000 people to gain the skills they need to be road ready, and to help those with previous experience refresh their skills so they can get back on the road,” said Mr Zahawi.
Britain’s food supply chains are “right on the edge of failing” as absence related to COVID-19 has aggravated a critical shortage of labour, a meat industry body said.
The British Meat Processors’ Association (BMPA) said the shortage of skills was so critical, some plants had reported vacancies of 10% to 16% of permanent positions, discounting the impact of the pandemic.
“On top of the underlying worker shortage, we’re also hearing from some members that between 5% and 10% of their workforce have been ‘pinged’ by the (health service) app and asked to self-isolate,” BMPA CEO Nick Allen said.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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