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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

I had a very brief conversation with a rather harassed, but lovely lady pulling bins out onto the street for the bin wagon earlier this morning. Our bins should have been collected yesterday.

She said the problem is cross borough as there are not enough drivers. Apparently there are 11 wagons sat in the yard unable to be used because there is no one there to drive them. She intimated they had gone elsewhere as they were being paid more. Her parting comment was 'that is 100,000 households not having their bins collected today'! 

Apparently the lack of HGV drivers across the UK that is underpinning this local issue is being put down to the fact that a large number of HGV qualified drivers were EU nationals that have gone back to the EU...

I bet this was not on BoJo's Brexit Risk Register. 

Tags for Forum Posts: bins, brexit dividend

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An interesting letter in one of the broadsheets this morning:

SIR – It is often claimed that Brexit and Covid caused Eastern European drivers to leave Britain and never return, resulting in a driver shortage.

I am an HGV driver employed by a large retailer, and I can tell you that the real reason they left was because of a tax change called IR35.

Previously these drivers could set up a limited company and pay much less tax and national insurance. IR35 took effect for them in April 2021, having been delayed from April 2020. From this point on, full contributions couldn’t easily be avoided'. 

It seems that a loophole for tax avoidance was closed, rather than it being a direct result of Brexit.

It's multiple factors, but the removal of the ability of people from the EU to come to the UK and work (in most sectors) is leading to huge disruption across many supply chains. We've moved from quite a flexible situation to one where the Home Office is basically in charge. As we have seen in many areas, the Home Office are not exactly the most amazing government department.

This is a revealing thread from the Scottish Food & Drink Federation:


Ultimately if the UK harvesting and processing supply chain can't get sufficient staff, then the UK will end up producing less food & importing more.

Given the Home Office's enthusiasm for keeping foreigners out of the country, it is unlikely to get better in the near future. 

I think IR35 has hit several industries where contractors (who have formed limited companies) are employed alongside permanent employees to do the same job, but for whom employers don’t pay NI or holidays and whose overall tax payments are lower — hence HMRC’s change of rules, to try to claim more tax. This appplies also in IT (anecdotally, a friend worked for 5 years for an insurer as a contractor alongside permanent staff doing exactly the same job) and some areas of entertainment — the BBC was embroiled in pay controversy when leading presenters such as John Humphries were shown to be employed in this way through service companies.

As well as the massive and crippling post-Brexit loss of lorry drivers, the HGV crisis is reportedly partly due to the inability for new drivers to be tested and certificated because the pandemic shut training and government test centres (cf the continuing crisis with the DVLA). The fundamental lack of HMG’s preparation for Brexit and the idealogical fixation with “taking back control” and closing the borders to those “nasty” EU people is already leading to huge problems in industries that depended on seasonal EU labour (agriculture, hospitality) or long lead times for training UK cits to take over. The converse is also the case: governmental failure to agree reciprocal visa arrangements for EU actors, singers, musicians, dancers and entertainers — after all, the “will of the people” was to keep them out — means UK bands, shows, musicians, theatre companies, etc, are now virtually unable to tour in Europe because of visa, cabotage and other restrictions that our government wasn’t prepared to negotiate on because it would mean letting Johnny Foreigner into the UK on the same terms.

Yeah.... pay less into the EU coffers but then pay much, much more to set up parallel agencies and systems to replicate those carried out by the Eu without the shared synergies especailly since a lot of this is in 'non-directly productive' work e.g many more customs and border force officers who actually produce zilch but cost so much!

You've taken back control and using the control to commit HARAKIRI!

So strange that a nation that was admired for its pragmatism has become the epitome of irrationality and the absurd.

The Blond Pied Piper and his pickupside have fooled the English...very sad to see! But maybe a lesson to be learned....humility!

Principally this thread is about the shortage of HGV drivers, it is worth noting that although the UK takes the 'lion's share' of vacancies at 52,000, Germany is not far behind at 45,000, and other EU countries are in the same boat. As for 'fooling the English', much of the blame for our exit lies at the feet of Tony Blair, along with the legacy of problems he and Brown left behind them. If Blair had instigated the five-year EU rule which allowed EU states to prepare for the new entrant EU countries migration instead of wanting to "rub our noses in diversity" we probably would still be in the EU. Cameron saw the dangers of Farage's popularity so had to do something, like any party leader would.

Yes?! Tony Blair is the reason Boris Johnson and his Brexiter cohort lead this country into the 'most extremist Breixit'. There is so much one could say about your statement but if you want to believe that, it is fine with me....after all the receiver of the message is just as responsible as the sender!

Before this little sub-thread goes too far, please remember our house rule that discourages diverting a discussion on a thread to national party politics.

Our focus is on local politics rather than national politics.

Due to the contentious nature of many posts oriented towards party politics, we reserve the right to edit, delete or close such discussions where we feel that they are not primarily focussed on local issues or they are likely to foster a divisive spirit on the website.

Add to this mix a large longstanding shortage of medical staff in the UK. How does this effect food distribution in the UK? Every new driver needs a medical examination; it is extremely important to make sure there won't be unfit people driving enormous trucks on the motorways and urban roads. In addition every HGV driver over 45 needs a medical every 5 years.

The BMA has announced that it has a backlog of 200,000 DVLA applications for medical assessments. During the pandemic HGV drivers were allowed to extend the period between medicals but that is coming to an end now adding a whole load more people to the list. A GP being interviewed on TV said that they already have a backlog of ill patients needing attention without adding more DVLA assessments to the lists, each one taking up the time slot on the clinic list.

Some HGV drivers are getting around it by not going to their GPs at all but going to a private doctor; the medical information needed by the private doctor is provided by the drivers and the private doctors issue certificates without the benefit of the drivers unexpurgated medical history that their GPs hold; the BMA points out the danger of this and cites cases of unfit drivers getting their medical certificates this way ( The bin driver who crashed in Glasgow killing six people and wounding 15 others for example). There is also a limit on what the private doctors can do as many work in the NHS too, there is not an unlimited supply to take up the slack.

Using the OECD EU nation average doctor to population ratio there is a shortage of 49,000 full time equivalent doctors in training in England. (BMA medical staffing report 2021)

(Not forgetting the 40,000 shortage of nurses !)

Some one on this thread said this is all Tony Blair's fault although the party in charge of running the country and PLANNING for the Brexit they promoted agressively, has been in charge CONTINUOSULY  for the last ELEVEN YEARS!

It's not really government's problem to resolve. The problem that the haulage industry is experiencing is one of it's own making. For years they have failed to attract and train new domestic drivers because they could employ ready trained drivers from the poorer EU countries who would sign up for relatively low wages and poor conditions.

They are also at fault for failing to prepare for the recent IR35 changes. They had two years to prepare and conduct their status determinations. If they lazily blanket assessed every role as being inside IR35 then I'm afraid they get what they deserve. And if they did not properly calculate a fair employment package for those roles genuinely inside IR35 they shouldn't have been surpised if drivers refused to work for them.

The Government is right to refuse the hauliers request for special dispensation to allow them to hire foreign drivers to meet demand. That would set an unfortunate precedent for other industries that failed to prepare. They should start training young British and Northern Irish people. Scour the nothern towns like the army does to find recruits willing to learn, earn and escape a life of welfare dependency.

The market will resolve the current problem either through innovation or evolution. If haulage companies and supermarkets temporarily earn lower profits as a result it is due to their own failure to prepare.

If Veolia is failing to collect the trash they should put in place a retention package for their drivers. If the local authority negotiated the contract well the cost of the retention package would be lower than the penalty charges for service delivery failure. 

Bus drivers next!


I agree with you on most of those points. Leaving it all to the market does not solve 100% of the issues though.

It is still the government's responsibility to anticipate and plan and not just spout ideological nonsense to cover up cynical lies. And of sectors and industries have to play their part but they will only be 'incentivised' to do so through a regulatory framework and market environment that makes them do so. The 'levelling up' plans are a charade. The Tories in  charge at present are deregulators and don't really have the interest of teh citizens at heart. They didn't even take precautions to attempt to hide their graft and corruption. But the country is accepting it for the moment.

On top of that the UK now has to, quickly, invest already scare resources to recreate all the standards and regulating bodies that were shared with the EU and meant that there were economies of scale and synergy gians. So we won't see those £millions going to the NHS for some years, if at all.

Everything does and will settle down in time. But at just what cost? In the short and medium term? And to which parts of the population?

I'm not a UK citizen , I only have Settled Status (based on one of may nationalities)  and voting rights here since I also have an ex-british colony nationality. The ex-colonies - the brown and non white-dominated ones at least - don't give a damn about Britain's place in the world. They are far more pragmatic about interdependence and sovereignty because they didn't have empires that were exploited to feed the riches back to the homeland. And in that respect the big EU countries also have to face reality and the fact that a paradigm shift is underway and if they don't change their ways.....

As for Tony Bliar...I think most people agree that he descredited himself with his fabricated dossier and disregard for the massive opposition to going to war because he was praying with his buddy Bush, like a poodle.

We've chnged the topic of the thread so I won't come back on to this here.

But what kind of government is it if it can’t ensure its population is fed? We have leaders so idealogically committed to the market that they’re not prepared to intervene, even short-term, to prevent something that looks as though it may become yet another disaster. If, as Maggie says, driver medical assessments are way behind, this undermines exhortations to train UK drivers and can be laid directly at the government’s door for their persistent failure to support the NHS and recruit enough medical staff.



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