Iceland’s chief has warned it’s “inevitable” consumers will end up paying the price amid the HGV drivers shortage and the government must listen to the industry.
Richard Walker the managing director of Iceland has said the government must listen to the industry and has warned there will be a severe risk of supply issues due to the ongoing shortage of lorry drivers.
Speaking to Sky News Walker said that there has been a sharp increase in wages for lorry drivers and warned this will lead to inflation and had once again urged the government to allow EU workers to the UK to help ease the shortage.
Walker said, “I think inevitably it will lead to some form of inflation because this driver issue is affecting the whole supply chain.
“It’s not just affecting our part of it, which is from the depots to the shops. It’s also affecting the suppliers into the depots or the produce from the fields into the supplier.
“And everyone is having to increase wages. We’ve done double-digit wage increases now across our depots, and I think that that will lead to inflation in the market. It’s inevitable.”
The Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said companies must hire and train British workers instead of allowing EU workers back to the UK.
But Walker said, “Longer term, one of the potential benefits of Brexit is that we can recruit all UK workers and that’s absolutely the right way to go, but that’s going to take time that will take anywhere between six and nine months.
“Obviously we have Christmas between now and then. So there’s a very simple solution actually, which is merely to add HGV drivers to the skilled worker lists which, by the way, includes ballerinas and concert orchestra musicians, but it doesn’t include HGV drivers – the men and women who have literally been keeping the show on the road through the pandemic. I think it’s madness.
“The government seems to be very firm. We’ve written to various government departments as has everyone across our industry, sounding the alarm very clearly, but at the moment they don’t seem to be willing to listen and this is serious.
“I can only see it getting worse over the coming weeks and months.”