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Welsh Secretary not ’embarrassed’ about Army helping with HGV driver shortage

07 Oct 2021 3 minutes Read
Simon Hart (left) by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0).

The Welsh Secretary has suggested that he is not “embarrassed or ashamed” about the Army being drafted in to alleviate the shortage in HGV drivers.

Simon Hart made the comments after he was challenged about the UK Government’s response to the crisis on Cross Question with Iain Dale on the LBC radio station.

The Tory MP also denied that Brexit was a factor in the crisis, arguing that other countries were also facing a shortage of drivers. Dale then told him that none of those countries were drafting in the Army to help.

The lack of drivers for heavy goods vehicles, has led to food shortages in supermarkets, and restaurants, and to people panic buying fuel at petrol stations, and industry experts have said that Brexit is a contributed to the problem.

The shortage had led to the UK Government to take emergency measures, such as drafting in 200 military personnel, including 100 drivers, to ease the pressure at the pumps.

It has also made 300 emergency visas available to foreign HGV drivers, but so far only 27 fuel tanker drivers from the EU have applied to work in the UK.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has said there is a shortage of HGV drivers because the UK Government “took us out of the European Union”.

During a session of First Ministers Questions in the Senedd, he accused the the Conservative government of a “derisory attempt to solve a problem” of its “own creation” after it U-turned on introducing the visas for overseas workers.

He argued that the plans “isn’t going to work” and said the “arrogance of it is breathtaking”,

‘Direct consequence’

When it was suggested that Brexit is a factor in the HGV driver crisis, Simon Hart told LBC: “I would like to think that where there is a sort of direct consequence of something which may be causing hardship I would be prepared to say yes look this is a problem.

“However just on the question on HGVs, there is a shortage in America, there is a shortage in Japan, there is a shortage in Australia, Poland, Germany.”

Iain Dale replied: “None of those countries have got the army helping.”

Hart continued: “But, hang on a minute, but none of them left the EU, that the accusation is that this is almost a direct by-product of Brexit. That is clearly not the case.

“What it clearly is the case is its been a reaction to cover the impact of Covid. Now how those countries respond and whether they use military support is a matter for them.

“I actually think it’s a fantastic position for us to be able to rely on, as we so often have through Covid and in other situations, the full might of the MOD to come to the aid of members of the public during a difficult time.

“I don’t think that’s something we should be embarrassed or ashamed about that”.

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Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
15 days ago

Pedantically he is rifght, Brexit did not cause the shortage, that was known about by George Osborne as Chancellor years ago. Brexit just prevents the solution that other EU countries have in Freedom of Movement.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
15 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Brexit DID cause the acute shortage!

CJPh
CJPh
15 days ago

Brexit didn’t help, for sure. But it’s not the cause – the States are having the exact same issue (they blame it on not allowing for certain pipleines, Trump, Biden the virus, illegal immigrants and probably Israel/Palestine). The issues are a good deal more complex than that; a maelstrom of node failures pushed into occurring now due to global lock-downs. It’ll pass, but not without some lasting scars.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
15 days ago

If you sh*t in the park instead of a toilet it is going to be good for the plants, that is the perverted take the brexshysters are using now, never forget this man takes money from crony donors as often as visits parks

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
15 days ago

If the dung beetle admitted it then it would be telling everyone the truth that the English government and Westminster are a gigantic failure run by failures who only got into their positions because of privilege and nothing to do with competence.

Quornby
Quornby
15 days ago

Shame? …..We are talking about a Tory politician….. They have no shame.

Erisian
Erisian
15 days ago

He is the UK Government Secretary of State for Wales.
Not the Welsh secretary. We don’t want it sound as if he were ours.

Gareth
Gareth
15 days ago

Last week, Grant Shapps the UK Gov transport secretary, said Brexit is part of the problem, this week Simon Hart contradicts him. Further proof of the shambles that is Westminster, and the Tories.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
15 days ago

How can the likes of Simon Hart be embarrassed about the Army being called in to dig his government out of a hole they caused when he lacks morality, dignity, a backbone, human kindness, compassion etc….. the sorry list is endless.

Last edited 15 days ago by Y Cymro
Mick Tems
Mick Tems
15 days ago

Brexit is a total disaster. Brexit is a lying Tory scam. Brexit is severely damaging Welsh industries, large and small. Brexit restricts freedom and Welsh citizens’ working rights. It’s time for Wales to declare independence NOW and re-apply to our European friends and colleagues to be a member of the EU – because the Tories will drag us down and down in some crazy, mad ‘levelling up’ plan dreamed up by the fibbing fool Johnson.

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