The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to send in the Army to deliver food to supermarkets, as immigration chaos fuels a growing shortage of lorry drivers.
The country has endured a summer of shortage chaos with empty supermarket shelves, restaurant food shortages, and even delays to flu jabs.
The call from the Liberal Democrats comes as the Road Haulage Association warns of a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers and the CBI have recently said there could be up to 2 years of Labour shortages.
The Lib Dems have slammed the Government’s new immigration system, implemented in the middle of the Covid pandemic, which makes it impossible for employers to recruit lorry drivers, care workers and other key workers from overseas.
Recent Home Office data shows that 20,000 fewer work visas were issued in the last 12 months than in 2019, even before accounting for the 50,000 EU citizens who came to take up a job offer in the UK under free movement.
Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics also show a dramatic rise in worker shortages with the number of unfilled vacancies in the transport and storage sector having almost tripled from 13,000 to 38,000 in the past year.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: “The Government is ignoring a crisis happening across the country. If they don’t act now we could be in for a Christmas of chaos; with empty shop shelves and restaurant supplies, no toys for our children, and even a delay to life saving flu jabs.
“We’re at the point now where we need to mobilise the Army to get food onto our supermarket shelves, showing that the Government has failed and left us all facing a bitter winter of discontent.
“This is all down to Priti Patel’s disastrous new immigration rules that are harming Britain. She must listen to British businesses, rather than hinder them, and enable them to hire the lorry drivers and other workers we so desperately need.
“Just tweaking the Shortage Occupation List is not enough. The Home Secretary should scrap her arbitrary salary threshold and end her ludicrous system that brands key workers as ‘unskilled’.
“It’s time for Priti Patel and the Conservatives to put the needs of the British economy above their anti-immigration ideology.”