Christopher Diack-Scott says thousands of people are waiting to ‘help’ but can’t
Christopher Diack-Scott says there are thousands of other drivers like him who are ready to help close the backlog but are unable to do so due to license renewal issues. The 48-year-old man from Doncaster says he renewed his contract in June and has yet to receive a response – more than three months later.
He says the whole process has left him “frustrated” and the UK could have “thousands of drivers back on the road in a matter of weeks” if it weren’t for the delay.
“It makes you so frustrated, and why open the borders for applicants to enter the country when you probably have 10,000 drivers here who can’t drive, they have to sort out their house before you leave,” he said. . ITV News.
According to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) – which processes heavy truck permit applications – 4,000 are new applications and 50,000 are truck drivers renewing existing permits, meaning that most of them they can continue to drive.The shortage of truck drivers in recent weeks is due to a combination of Covid, Brexit and other factors.
This lead to empty supermarket shelves and a lack of fuel at gas pumps.
This has led the government to introduce 5,000 temporary visas for tanker and food truck drivers to work in the UK as Christmas approaches.
But many industry experts have said that visas will do little to make up for the current shortfall.
Mr Diack-Scott describes working conditions which he says discourage drivers from coming to the UK
Those like Mr Diack-Scott, who spent 20 years as a driver before leaving, say European workers will not come to the UK because drivers here are treated as “second class citizens”.
He spoke fondly of what he called dire working conditions that drove many like him and his family to leave the industry.
This week, military drivers hit the roads for the first time in support of the operation to ensure the supply of gas stations.
What must the government do to get drivers back on the road?
Around 100 trained drivers (with around 100 additional support troops) are expected to be deployed in the coming days, despite repeated assurances from ministers that the situation is “stabilizing”.
But those who have spent their lives as truck drivers like Mr. Diack-Scott say that instead of these measures, the government must reform the industry and become “more Europe-compliant”.
The government has also said it will train thousands of additional drivers in a bid to reduce the shortage and invest Â£ 10million in skills camps to help new people enter the industry.