A shortage of lorry drivers has caused problems for confectionery giant Haribo as it struggles to deliver sweets to UK shops.
The German company, which produces popular brands such as Tangfastics and Goldbears, said it was “experiencing challenges” in getting supplies to stores in the UK, and was “working with partners across the food and drink industry to address the problem”.
Haribo’s issues are shared with a number of companies requiring goods transport in the UK.
Haulage companies have blamed a combination of the pandemic and Brexit immigration rules for a shortage of an estimated 60,000 drivers. Many lorry drivers in the UK had previously come from EU countries including Romania and Bulgaria, and returned home when the coronavirus hit.
According to industry body the Road Haulage Association, there are 16,000 fewer drivers in the UK now than there were at the start of 2021, and over 3,600 driver vacancies across 40 of the biggest employers.
The RHA estimates that 30,000 HGV driving tests did not take place last year because of the pandemic.
The government said it had ramped up vocational testing capacity and was investing in apprenticeships to overcome the shortages.
In Prime Minister’s Questions this week, Glasgow East MP David Linden asked Boris Johnson why HGV drivers are not on the Shortage Occupation List, which would make it easier for haulage companies to recruit drivers from abroad.
However, the PM responded that he would “look at what he was proposing” and failed to address the issue.
The RHA has sent ministers a 12-point action plan detailing a number of solutions including a seasonal visa scheme, a ‘return to HGV driving’ scheme for retired drivers, better funding for apprenticeships in the sector and loans for training.