Rachel Reeves sinks Keir Starmer's HGV visa plan

Keir Starmer’s call to grant visas to 100,000 foreign HGV drivers to solve fuel crisis lasts just ONE DAY as Rachel Reeves says independent migration experts should decide who comes to the UK

  • Keir Starmer yesterday called for 100,000 foreign lorry drivers to be given visas 
  • But Rachel Reeves said migration experts should determine the visa numbers
  • Also insisted a Labour government will not bring back EU freedom of movement 

Sir Keir Starmer’s call for 100,000 foreign lorry drivers to be granted visas to come to the UK lasted just one day as his own shadow chancellor torpedoed the plan.

Rachel Reeves said it should be up to independent experts to decide how to fill worker shortages. 

She said the lack of HGV drivers should be ‘urgently’ referred to the Migration Advisory Committee which advises the Government on migration policy. 

Sir Keir had yesterday called for 100,000 visas to be issued as he blasted the Government’s announcement of a temporary visa scheme that will see 5,000 foreign HGV drivers allowed to take up employment in the UK until Christmas Eve. 

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said it should be up to independent experts to decide how to fill HGV driver shortages

Sir Keir Starmer yesterday called for 100,000 visas to be issued as he blasted the Government’s announcement of a temporary visa scheme that will see 5,000 foreign HGV drivers allowed to take up employment in the UK until Christmas Eve

The shortage of HGV drivers has hit the nation’s fuel network while retailers have warned the Government that it has just 10 days to save Christmas from ‘significant disruption’ amid pressure on the food supply chain.

Ministers want firms to hire and train British workers to fill HGV vacancies, with the 5,000 visas viewed as a short term fix. 

The shortfall of HGV drivers in the UK has been estimated at north of 90,000.    

Ms Reeves said this morning that people queueing for fuel ‘couldn’t care less whether the HGV driver that has got the petrol to the forecourt is British or foreign’. 

She said: ‘We have been saying for quite a while now that the Government should refer this to the Migration Advisory Committee about skill shortages but then we need to be training up more British workers to have the skills to be able to do these jobs and improve them, particularly the conditions but also the pay for these HGV drivers.’

She said the job of the committee is to ‘advise on skill shortages and the Government need to refer to them and say to them urgently “we need to know what we should be doing here” because at the moment it is just an ad hoc process’.

She questioned how the Government had arrived at the 5,000 temporary visa number.

But when pushed on Sir Keir’s plan to grant 100,000 visas to foreign lorry drivers, Ms Reeves said: ‘Well, we have got a Migration Advisory Committee that is supposed to recommend to the Government the number of people.

‘Let’s refer it to them and make sure that we have got the people here but in the meantime let’s sort out the big skill shortage we have got in this country and skill people up to do the jobs that are available in the economy.’ 

Sir Keir had said yesterday that ‘we are going to have to bring in more drivers and more visas’. 

Asked directly if he would bring in 100,000 foreign drivers if he was prime minister, Sir Keir said: ‘We are going to have to do that. We have to issue enough visas to cover the number of drivers that we need. 

Ms Reeves also categorically ruled out a Labour government bringing back EU freedom of movement. 

She said: ‘We are not going to bring back free movement under a Labour government but we would fix some of these problems.’  

Source: Read Full Article