Boris Johnson has admitted that he has known the UK freight forwarding industry has been in trouble for months and has suggested that the supply chain problems could last until Christmas.
On the opening day of the Tory Party Conference in Manchester, the Prime Minister insisted that the fuel crisis “subsides” despite persistent reports of long queues for gasoline in some parts of the country.
He contended that large-scale immigration was not the answer to the nation’s problems, admitting that the UK economy is under “stress and strain” as it moves away from the “broken model” which he said Brexit referendum had been rejected by voters in 2016.
But Mr Johnson insisted that by pulling “the big lever of uncontrolled immigration” to “pull the big lever of uncontrolled immigration” he will not solve the problems in the labor market – which led to shelf shortage warnings in the run-up to the holiday season – to get large numbers enable foreign workers.
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When asked on The BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show about a warning from Chancellor Rishi Sunak that the shortage could last until Christmas, Mr Johnson said, “Rishi is invariably right about everything he says.”
Then he added hastily, “It depends how you interpret what he is saying.”
Mr Johnson admitted he received a warning from the Road Haulage Association in June saying that the industry was in a major crisis due to the lack of truck drivers.
The Prime Minister said: “We have known about bottlenecks in road freight transport for a long time. They are a chronic feature of the way the road haulage industry has worked. “
Mr Johnson said the problem in the forecourt – triggered by reports that a shortage of tanker drivers was affecting deliveries – was “basically one of the supply.”
He said the economy is facing an “adjustment period” and the way to attract more truckers is to make sure the industry is “properly paid”.
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He added, “We have to make sure people get to market as soon as possible.
“When people voted for change in 2016, when they voted for change again in 2019, they voted for the end of a broken model of the UK economy based on low wages and skills and chronically low productivity. We are moving away from this.
“The way forward for our country is not simply to pull the big lever of uncontrolled immigration and let large numbers of people in.”
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