UK Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood wants to train Afghan refugees to address tanker driver shortage

Despite having more than 1.5 million unemployed - the rate is currently 4.6% unemployment and rising, possibly to 5.6% in 2022, - Boris Johnson's government is preparing to issue 5,000 visas to EU workers, initially to fill the address the shortage of HGV and tanker drivers. In a post-Brexit environment, UK employers cannot - or rather will not - wean themselves off of reliance on the cheap workforce that EU membership provided, writes Gary Cartwright.

A temporary visa scheme for tanker drivers has been announced, with "about 5,000" temporary visas to be issued. The scheme is expected to run until Christmas Eve, but do not for one moment expect that to happen.

In the meantime, as petrol stations run out of fuel, calls grow for the Army to be drafted in to help out.

The Army have already helped out in over-stretched NHS hospitals, in rolling out Britain's Covid vaccination program, and in administering Covid tests. Which of the country's other failings will the troops be asked to address next? Will they be drafted in to help teach primary school pupils to read and count?

Brexit was supposed to protect British workers jobs. That promise has not survived the first weeks of tanker driver shortage crisis. Employing British workers on a fair wage is clearly not an option employers are prepared to consider - cheaper Poles and Latvians are what industry wants, and that is what industry will get.

However, British Conservative MP Tobias Elwood has come up with an even more imaginative means of addressing the problem: "We could retrain hundreds of Afghan refugees many of them are over here, they drove much bigger HGVs in their own countries," he said.

Training British youngsters to fill the skills gaps would of course require long-term planning and investment, and therefore that would appear to be completely out of the question.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor and Brussels correspondent of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

In October 2021 POLITICO described Gary as "the busiest man in Brussels!"

He is a of member the Chartered Institute of Journalists, a professional association for journalists, the senior such body in the UK, and the oldest in the world having been founded in October 1884

Gary's most recent book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon

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