Last week I was asked to be a speaker at a meeting of a group called the UK Trade and Business Commission.
The commissioners on the group are drawn from MPs, Business Leaders and Academics. Their purpose is to review the UK’s trading and business environment and to make recommendations to the UK Government for a better future for Britain.
I was joined on the session by Andrew Opie of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Alex Veitch of Logistics UK.
The questions were prepared by the various commissioners, and focused on the current shortage of HGV drivers and issues around the wider food supply chain.
It gave me the opportunity to discuss the recent Labour Availability Issue Report of which the BFFF were a co-sponsor. It also gave the opportunity to detail the current impact of cost pressures on the BFFF Membership. Many of my views were supported and indeed repeated by the other two speakers.
The event is an open forum so we were aware a number of civil servants and journalists were present. This resulted in coverage in The Times Business Section and the BBC News Online. However, despite the many calls on the Government for some relaxation on the current Immigration Rules from many sections of the Economy they are not listening.
The one positive from the meeting was that Alex Veitch from Logistics UK felt that with new drivers now passing through the system – Spring 2022 could see the position ease, however, this still means possible issues over the peak Christmas trading period.