Transport chiefs have been told to “get a grip” of the lorry drivers’ crisis, as the shortage of drivers now threatens Christmas.
Renfrewshire MP Gavin Newlands, the SNP’s Westminster Transport Spokesperson, challenged the Government at Transport Questions on Thursday.
Recent weeks have seen pubs run low on beer, while high street stores like Halfords and Dunelm have reported issues with their supply chains as fears grow the lorry driver crisis could impact Christmas.
Long-term industry problems, such as driver recruitment and training, have been compounded by the effects of Brexit, which has seen thousands of drivers leave the industry and the cost of transport shoot up as red tape mounts up.
And despite months of industry groups warning the Government of the driver crisis, it took until yesterday for changes to be made to the testing process to speed up driver testing and licensing.
Gavin said: “It’s now over nine months since the challenges facing the haulage industry were made crystal clear as border checks caused by Brexit cost Scotland’s industries millions of pounds.
“I and many others called on the Transport Secretary and the UK Government to get a grip then, yet here we are in the run-up to Christmas and our shops are becoming emptier by the day.
“Industry has been crying out for the Government to take this issue seriously, yet it’s only this week they’ve made some minor changes to the testing process. That simply isn’t enough to resolve this growing crisis.
“At every step of the way the Government have pretended that Brexit would have no negative effects on our economy, that only sunlit uplands awaited.
“Perhaps if they’d been honest with voters and admitted ditching the EU would mean food shortages and delays in medical supplies reaching this country, Scotland would not have been dragged against its will out of the EU, and the problems caused by Brexit wouldn’t exist.”