The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has slapped down absurd suggestions that the ongoing shortage of lorry drivers has been caused by Brexit, highlighting how the shortage is global in scale and how Brexit has in fact helped mitigate the crisis by giving the government more powers over the testing of new drivers.
He’s refuted the Remoaner rubbish in a number of media settings during a media round this morning, including a television discussion with Sky News’ Kay Burley.
“How much is Brexit to blame?” asked the Sky News mainstay, to which Shapps replied: “Well, I’ve seen people point to Brexit as if it’s the culprit here. In fact, they’re wrong.
“Not only are there very large and even larger shortages in other EU countries, like Poland and Germany, which clearly can’t be to do with Brexit, but actually because of Brexit I’ve been able to change the law and alter the way our driving tests operate in a way that I could not have done if we were still part of the EU.
“So Brexit actually has provided part of the solution of giving more slots available for HGV tests – with twice as many tests available now than before the pandemic, and a large proportion of those have only been able to be done because we’re no longer actually in the EU.”
He made the same case to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, reiterating that “the problem is global, and certainly across Europe” rather than being solely focused on Brexit Britain.
“Rather than Brexit being the problem, actually Brexit has helped to provide some the solutions… part of that has been changing things to do with the driving test, which we couldn’t have done within the EU.”
He went on to reject nonsensical demands for the government to relax immigration rules to recruit foreign lorry drivers, given that there are shortages across most of the world anyway.