Europe

‘What Britain deserves!’ Remoaners hail ‘Brexit Christmas’ as Polish driver snubs UK offer

Lorry driver says cars have been following him to find fuel

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The UK is currently suffering from a shortage of an estimated 100,000 hauliers, which threatens to leave shop shelves and petrol stations empty. As part of a raft of plans by the Government to deal with the shortages, it is offering 5,000 temporary visas to HGV drivers from other countries to fill gaps in the supply chain.

The visas are for three months and will expire on Christmas Eve.

Announcing the measures at the weekend, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “After a very difficult 18 months, I know how important this Christmas is for all of us and that’s why we’re taking these steps at the earliest opportunity to ensure preparations remain on track.”

In a clip that originally aired on Good Morning Britain and later reshared widely on Twitter, a Polish lorry driver made his thoughts on the temporary visa clear.

He said: “I do not think anyone would want to relocate [for] 3 months just to help the British sort out their Christmas.”

His comments have seen online users rally to both sides of the argument, with many suggesting that Brexit was the cause of the shortage.

One Twitter user, @AdxmLFC, wrote: “This is what the British public deserve [to be honest].

“As seen by the votes, this is what they voted for!”

Another, @Namaste17John, said “we’re in for a rough winter and beyond thanks to Brexit”.

He continued: “The Brexiteers will try and talk their way out of blame but they can’t hide from reality.”

@Disappearer tweeted: “Sure, we wanted them all out of the UK because they were taking our jobs, but now it turns out no one’s actually doing those jobs, can’t they come back for 3 months to help us at Christmas before we boot them out again?”

And @dthompson123 asked: “How can this country have the audacity to vote for something as stupid as Brexit then ask them all to come back?”

The band The Subways (@thesubways) also chipped in, saying: “Brexit Britain needs to get the Brexit Christmas it deserves, frankly. Especially the Leavers.”

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Meanwhile, @razor5edge reacted by saying: “How ungrateful.”

And @Philobedd0 said: “They seem a lot more friendly when they need our RAF to usher out Russian planes that have ventured into their airspace though, don’t they?”

In response to criticism, Mr Grant Shapps said on The Andrew Marr Show that the government did not want to “undercut” British workers, but also would not “stand by and watch queues forming”.

On Saturday, the Government announced that as many as 3,000 people would be able to go through “intensive” training to become qualified lorry drivers in time for Christmas.

An additional 1,000 people are expected to be trained through courses accessed locally and funded by the government’s adult education budget.

However, it said: “we want to see employers make long-term investments in the UK domestic workforce instead of relying on overseas labour to build a high-wage, high-skill economy.

“Visas will not be the long term solution, and reform within the industry is vital.

“That’s why the Government continues to support the industry in solving this issue in the long term through improved testing and hiring, with better pay, working conditions and diversity.”

While Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett laid the blame for the shortage on a number of factors – including the knock-on effects of the pandemic, retiring drivers and Brexit – the Government has repeatedly said that it was the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic that was fuelling the shortage.

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