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‘We’re short of HGV drivers because the UK Gov took us out of the EU’, says Drakeford

28 Sep 2021 3 minutes Read
Mark Drakeford speaking in the Senedd

There is a shortage of HGV drivers because the UK Government “took us out of the European Union”, according to Mark Drakeford.

The First Minister was responding to Tory Senedd member Laura Anne Jones, who asked what the Welsh Government was doing to address the “lack of skilled lorry drivers” when he made the comments.

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.

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

This will allow 5,000 more foreign HGV drivers into the country until Christmas Eve.

But the First Minister argued that the plans “isn’t going to work” and said the “arrogance of it is breathtaking”, in response to the move.

He said drivers from the continent aren’t going to “uproot themselves” only to be” discarded again”.

Laura Anne Jones MS said: “But it is glaringly apparent at the moment that there is a skills shortage in Islwyn, and across our country, including the problems we’re all currently experiencing, compounded by the fact there’s a lack of skilled lorry drivers. How is this Government looking to address this, First Minister?”

‘Taken aback’ 

The First Minister responded: “I was a little bit taken aback by what I thought the Member said in the final part of her question. Here is a UK Government – it is hard to imagine a Government that has made a more derisory attempt to solve a problem of their own creation.

“Of course we are short of HGV drivers, because your Government took us out of the European Union, where we were previously supplied by drivers—[Interruption.]

“I know it suits Members of the Conservative Party to cover the lack of their arguments just by making a noise, but it honestly doesn’t wash.

“When we were in a single market and the customs union, people were able to move freely across the continent of Europe and to do jobs here in this country.

“Those people are no longer available to us. The idea that people are going to be willing to uproot themselves and come back and work in this country for a matter of weeks, only to be told by the UK Government they will be discarded again on Christmas eve, when they no longer have any use for them, it simply—. Well, the arrogance of it is breathtaking, but it just isn’t going to work.

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Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans
25 days ago

Laura Anne Jones. Blame anyone other than your own Conservative Government. Shameful.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
25 days ago

He wasn’t 100% accurate since it was the lunacy of the Lancaster House speech by Theresa May that caused the problems. The Tories did take us out but it was the extremist manner set out by May in her red lines that dropped Johnson right in it and set all these problems in motion. Nowhere in the referendum did it say there would be no single market, no freedom of movement and no customs union. In fact the Leave campaigns all promised the exact opposite. I likened it at the time to painting yourself into a corner using petrol then… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
24 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

“…but it was the extremist manner set out by May in her red lines that dropped Johnson right in it and set all these problems in motion.” May was a dope, but you seem to be very light on Johnson. After all he was a prime mover in seeking the adoption of a robust stance thinking that the good old exceptionalism of the English/BritNats would overcome any kind of objection.

Andy b
Andy b
24 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Johnson was the PM, it was his deal, he didnt need to stick with Theresa Mays, so i dont think he gets let off the hook. By this time however, Farage and the ERG had been given an inch and taken a mile (to use the appropriate imperial measures), and so would have made life very dfficult for BJ, with accusations of BRINO etc. but still, he took us out of the single market, so its his fault.

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
25 days ago

Love Mark Drakeford or hate him, he’s dead right here. The Tories in the Senedd don’t like it because he pointed there arrogance on this issue and many others. Mark Drakeford may not be brilliant, but he’s far better than Boris the Buffoon and his Motley crew of the Claptrapocracy.

j humphrys
j humphrys
25 days ago

Yes, Mark. The UK Gov.
A Conservative Gov.
A Gov. that will be in existence for the rest of your life?

j humphrys
j humphrys
25 days ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Obviously, Brexit loons are so entrenched that they will never admit their mistake.
Hopefully, the average voter will take a more reasonable view, and vote accordingly.

Phil
Phil
24 days ago
Reply to  j humphrys

So because they don’t agree with your entrenched view then they’re loons? Sad.

John Davies
John Davies
25 days ago

Drakeford is perfectly correct and I am glad he said it. Now, how long before Labour’s national leadership says it? Don’t hold your breath, folks, that would amount to attacking the government and for some reason they seem to think that is not allowed. Labour in Wales is well enough led by Drakeford but sooner or later (and I think sooner), he is going to have to face the necessity of its becoming an entirely separate Welsh Labour Party. The alternative is that Labour in Wales goes the same way as Labour in Scotland. Being an outlying department of a… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
25 days ago

Yes and the next truth that the FM will acknowledge is our desperate need for a Welsh state.

Shan Morgain
25 days ago

The main EU haulage organisation has said drivers won’t want to come to the UK because of low pay, poor working conditions (including no toilets), high tariffs and bureaucracy due to Brexit, long queues in processing. So dinky little temp visas won’t do much except scrape a few inferior and desperate drivers dubiously unable to get work elsewhere.

Phil
Phil
24 days ago
Reply to  Shan Morgain

The same terrible conditions that our own HGV drivers have to endure…. And people wonder why we can’t recruit our own drivers??

Erisian
Erisian
24 days ago

Although it is the exit from the single market, rather than our exit from the EU that is realy to blame, it’s so nice to hear a politician actually say it out load.

Dai
Dai
23 days ago

We have enough lazy layabouts in Eales who could be re trained, but Labour governments have always made sure they get a comfortable living doing nothing.

Dai
Dai
23 days ago
Reply to  Dai

Wales!

Mathew Rees
Mathew Rees
22 days ago

The majority of voters in Wales voted to leave, Mr Drakeford. Please grow up and stop harping on about Brexit.

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