Only 20 HGV licences granted for EU workers to help shift Britain’s huge cargo backlog

JUST 20 HGV licences have been granted for EU workers to help shift Britain’s huge cargo backlog.

And a mere 300 applications have been sent in by European workers so far, Tory chairman Oliver Dowden said.

Reuters
Only 20 HGV licences have been granted for EU workers to help shift Britain’s huge cargo backlog[/caption]

Home Office minister Kevin Foster also revealed in a letter to all MPs that each application would take three weeks, or 15 working days, to process.

It is despite the Government’s vow to grant an extra 5,000 EU visas to help the flow of goods.

Mr Dowden told LBC: “The number so far is relatively limited.

“We have 300 people that have applied for these visas.

“I believe the number is just over 20 that actually received them, so are on the road. But I expect that number to increase over time.”

The Sun understands there is still a huge backlog of 54,000 HGV applications which is contributing to the build up at Felixstowe, Suffolk, and causing cargo to be diverted to other ports.

British Ports Authority policy director Mark Simmonds said that the driver crisis could last up to nine months.

But he said it is unlikely to hugely affect Christmas as there is still time for goods to arrive.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael said: “This incompetence risks causing more empty shelves and more misery for British consumers in the run up to Christmas.”

The Department of Transport had written to more than one million former HGV drivers to encourage them to return to the sector.

It is streamlining the application process and adding more tests in a bid to increase the flow of new drivers.

A government spokesman said: “We took immediate action. This is a global problem.

“However we also want to see long-term solutions delivered by employers with better pay and conditions.”

Alamy
Oliver Dowden said: ‘I believe the number is just over 20 that actually received them [licences], so are on the road. But I expect that number to increase over time’[/caption]
PA
Thousands of shipping containers pile up at the Port of Felixstowe in Suffolk[/caption]


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