“Another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!”
27 September 2021
We are slipping into a desperate crisis which has been inflicted by this blinkered government.
There is a massive shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers that is having a knock on effect. Drivers of local authority recycling vehicles are now being poached by desperate haulage companies. Already recycling collections are being affected. One HGV driver has been offered an increase of £7 an hour to stay with his present employer! The cost of these cash bonuses will, of course, be passed onto the consumer.
Why has this happened? The government has made European HGV drivers feel unwelcome and they went home when the pandemic hit, and have not come back.
The government’s solution to this crisis – bonuses for HGV apprentices – but the Road Haulage Association states it takes 18 months to train an HGV driver. Moving to smaller vehicles will simply increase the problem – more pressure on drivers, more lorries on the road, less freight being moved.
The shortage of drivers is already having a knock on effect, petrol stations are shutting, supermarkets are having problems filling shelves, pubs are running short of certain beers, popular take aways are reducing menus. The crucial sinews which hold the British economic network together have been seriously damaged.
Finding 100,000 new HGV drivers will not be easy. Flooding busy roads with inexperienced drivers will be potentially dangerous.
The average age of HGV drivers is 55. So the problem is not going to go away. Britain, like other countries such as Japan and China, has an ageing population, it does not have enough younger workers to do the necessary jobs, and pay tax, to support the older population. Immigrant workers are a necessity. China has relaxed its one child policy, even Japan is beginning to let in migrant workers.
The dogmatic government is increasingly locking us into an unsustainable situation. Trying to blame the pandemic for the problems caused by cutting us off from a large, flexible work force after 40 years of being reliant on that work force.
Declarations by Grant Shapps that we must “stand on our own two feet”, are not helpful when we are short of at least 100,000 HGV drivers. Facing reality, and not acting like ostriches, is what a responsible government should be doing. Even when many of the problems are of their own making.
Granting temporary visas for 5,000 foreign drivers won’t solve the problem Johnson has caused. What about the other 95 percent of the driver shortage?
4 September 2021
Please find attached letter for inclusion in your paper, from the Thirsk and Malton Labour Party:
Child Poverty in Thirsk & Malton Constituency
14 July 2021
Yes, Kevin Hollinrake it’s happening on your watch, children in your constituency are being left behind.
Despite national headlines that ‘..no child will be left behind..’ government data published last month shows that child poverty (using both absolute and relative measures) in our constituency continues to rise.
Between 2014-2020, child poverty rates increased from 12.5% to 16.3% (relative poverty) and absolute poverty rose from 12.8% to 13.7%. That means 365 more children in Thirsk & Malton are living in absolute poverty since Kevin Hollinrake became their MP.
The figures hide the reality for over 11,000 children and their families, who have seen support for those eligible for free school meals, Pupil Premium and ‘Catch Up’ funding under threat. The government’s response to widespread pressure from campaigners, such as Marcus Rashford, to feed eligible children during school holidays, was to provide funding of just £1.25 per hour linked to involvement in holiday club provision.
Most recently, schools have seen a reduction in Pupil Premium funding (worth approximately £1000 per eligible pupil, for example those on Free School Meals) after the government changed the way eligibility was calculated. In North Yorkshire, over 800 of the most vulnerable pupils will miss out this year because of this change.
The most recent child poverty figures do not show the picture during the pandemic, but we know that some of the our most vulnerable children will also lose out as the recently announced education Catch Up premium “does not come close to meeting the scale of the challenge”.
If Kevin Hollinrake is serious about getting a better deal for these children, can he tell us his plans to address child poverty in his constituency?