Politics

‘Brainless bureaucracy’ IDS shuts down Remoaner hysteria over lorry driver shortages

Iain Duncan Smith: 'We should be looking to develop India'

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The former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said: “Don’t blame Brexit for driver shortages – our brainless bureaucracy is the real culprit.” He placed the blame for the haulage personnel shortages on the knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

He added: “Covid exposed just how sluggish our institutions can be, and now we are paying the price.”

In an article published in the Telegraph, Mr Duncan Smith reflected: “It is seldom policy issues that determine how governments are viewed by the public, but how they handle unexpected events.”

“The Government is finding just how difficult it can be to retain control while being buffeted by the unexpected.”

He uses the example of the HGV driver shortage currently sparking panic buying and long queues at forecourts up and down the country.

“We thank HGV drivers and all forecourt staff for their tireless work during this period.”

Mr Duncan Smith, drawing comparisons with other countries in Europe, highlighted that “the total European shortfall of HGV drivers is now more than 400,000.”

He continued: “This is a European-wide issue and the culprit is coronavirus.

“The origins of this chronic shortage lie in the long-term implications of locking down so completely.

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He remembered when, as Work and Pensions Secretary, he “questioned why hauliers did so little to invest in their industry by training drivers, particularly when the shortages were already becoming unknown, the hauliers responded that British people wouldn’t do the job.”

He also criticised the introduction of temporary visas for HGV drivers from Europe, valid until December 24, 2021.

He said: “I’m not sure how visa changes will help much now, when all Europe is also searching for drivers.”

Mr Duncan Smith ended by asserting that “a reputation for competence is vital for a government.”

“It’s in the Government’s hands” to decide whether the HGV driver shortage will bolster the Government or “damage” their credibility, he concluded.

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