A group of MPs have launched an inquiry examining HGV driver availability and its impact on the food and drink supply chain, with distributors already warning of driver shortages in the run up to Easter.
Chaired by Matt Vickers MP, the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Food and Drink Supply Chain will, over the next month, hear from various organisations that supply food and drink, with the FWD the secretariat for the APPG and some of its members contributing to its work.
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It will then examine the severity of the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK, the challenges still facing businesses, the steps the Government has and should be taking to support the sector, and the impact on the price and availability of food. I will finally provide a series of recommendations to Government ahead of the suspected demand peak in April.
Chair of the APPG, Matt Vickers MP, said: “The food and drink supply chain plays a vital role in our daily life but many of the businesses providing these important services are hidden from the public’s view. Our group and inquiry will serve to shine a light on the issues facing these companies carrying out vital work to keep our nation fed.
“The labour shortages last year served to demonstrate just how it important it is that the sector is adequately equipped and the dire consequences which follow when there is a breakdown in the supply chain.We want to understand the extent to which these supply chain issues are still plaguing the sector and determine the best policy options available to mitigate any potential issues.”
Members of FWD say that labour shortages have stablised since Christmas rather than improved, but as January and February are traditionally quiet months, the full impact is yet to be seen. They suggest they have not seen the level of recruitment, particularly of HGV drivers, which would prevent a repeat of last year’s distribution issues as hospitality demand increases in the spring.
Officers of the Group
Matt Vickers MP – Chair
Sharon Hodgson MP – Vice-Chair
Tan Dhesi MP – Vice-Chair
Alan Brown MP – Vice-Chair
Bob Blackman MP – Vice-Chair
Marsha Decordova MP – Vice-Chair
Martyn Day MP – Vice-Chair
Deirdre Brock MP – Vice-Chair
David Duguid MP – Vice-Chair
Chris Loder MP – Vice-Chair
Jill Mortimer MP – Vice-Chair
Robbie Moore MP – Vice-Chair
Mike Wood MP – Vice-Chair