Remoaning HGV driver brands Brexit ‘huge mistake’ despite it adding up to £29K to salary

Nigel Farage: UK still has ‘unfinished business’ with Brexit

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Luke Vernon was earning around £500-a-week after tax before his licence was suspended last February following a car accident – the equivalent of an annual salary of £33,000. Since freedom of movement ended in January there has been a huge shortage of HGV drivers – prompting desperate offers of vastly increased wages from desperate firms.

One lorry driver, Aaron Leventhal, previously revealed freelance drivers are now being offered up to £30-an-hour to drive wagons for supermarkets.

This equates to an annual salary of more than £62,000 – assuming someone works an eight-hour day, five days a week.

While Mr Vernon, from Ceredigion, south Wales, notes wages have risen – he still believes Brexit will “seriously damage” the economy despite this “short term boost”.

He also says drivers’ wages have broadly remained “static” or “gone down” during his 24-year career in the industry.

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Mr Vernon says that, when he worked as an agency driver in London just after the turn of the millennium, he was paid higher salary than many drivers until recent years.

The blogger – who runs his own website – told Express.co.uk: “On the face of it, for drivers like us, leaving the EU has improved our pay, yet I’m still very much against it. Why?

“These pay rises are simply a short-term boost and, in the long run, Brexit will seriously damage our economy.

“Maybe I’m looking ahead too much and not living in the here and now, but in the long-run Brexit will take much more than it gives and damage all sectors of society ultimately.

“I’m anti-Brexit because the world should be working and communicating with our fellow countries, not shutting ourselves out.

“A large part of the fact we are a pro-Brexit country is because of lies about the EU being peddled relentlessly.

“The fascinating thing is we are now starting to see the harm Brexit is causing all those voters refusing to put any blame on the EU.

“I’m a realist, there is no perfect system, least of all the European Union which has its faults but far too many opinions of Brexit are based on lies or half-truths.

“Absolutely the EU has its problems and is far from perfect but we should be there in the centre solving them, driving the EU forward.

“Thanks to this daft country’s outlook on Europe we never really took our place with Germany and France as the drivers of Europe and what it stands for.

“Instead of thinking Brexit is the answer, people should have driven us towards the centre.

“People complained it was run by Germany and France with us left out but that was our own doing. As a nation we preferred sniping from the sidelines.

“I actually think the EU will end up being better without us.

“Wages vary enormously from job to job. But overall I feel the wages have been static at best.

“When I went to London to work for an agency, up to eight hours was £11, over eight hours £15 and Sunday £20 per hour. That was 17 to 18 years ago and the hourly rate seems to have at best remained static – and at worst gone down.

“I am surprised a little at the recent wage rises but it’s actually just proof we were underpaid. If they can just lift rates at the drop of a hat the way they have with little impact on their business.

“It remains to be seen what will happen long term. I think many companies will try to drive the rates back down saying they can’t afford it. And I’m still anti-Brexit.

“If I changed my mind on Brexit simply because it lifted our pay that would show me very much as having an ‘I’m alright chap’ mentality – only concerned with your own specific problems.

“As I said above Brexit over time will cost us enormously in my opinion.”

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