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.
We're talking no McDonalds shakes and some chicken shortages at the Nando's chain not food shortages.
Lots of empty shelves and covered-up chiller cabinets in both Tesco and Sainsbury’s on Thursday and Friday as well as very thin stocks of chicken, meat and dairy in both when I was there. Nando’s and McDonalds get the headlines, but the main supermarket stores have had highly erratic supplies for several weeks and the number of unavailable standard items on home delivery has been rising steadily since the start of July. True, the odd milkshake or fried chicken shortage isn’t going to hurt, but farmers are ploughing vegetables back into the fields and pouring milk away because they can’t get produce delivered to wholesalers; I’d say that amounts to “food shortages”.
There's no shortage of exaggeration.
Eastern Daily Press, 5 August — King’s Lynn vegetable producers A G Pearce are “throwing away thousands of tonnes of food every week”:
Maggie, thank you for this timely, clearly (and calmly) expressed reminder of the complexity of the driver shortages.
I'm finding this discussion interesting but frustrating. Very frustrating.
Some people posting here have made useful, relevant and urgent practical points. My frustration comes partly from not seeing how they can be followed-up. Because if the warnings are accurate there are worrying possible implications for some of the most vulnerable people in our borough and elsewhere. Implications which affect a wide range of practical matters in health, education (including school dinners), local market food sources, and of course jobs.
At the same time my unsystematic magpie-like gathering of news-pieces and articles about food policy & supply suggests there's an opportunity to encourage and build on traditional and new initiatives for increasing locally grown foodstuffs. I've been reading, for example about initiatives in Quebec, and in Detroit where local residents took over areas of under-used land - partly to grow food. From time to time our cousins in Belgium tell us snippets about changes there.
Another example I came across is the writing of Rebecca Sandover in Exeter - this is a quote from her.
"Food has become an organising principle through which we measure disruption in our lives in a time of multiple emergencies. From the supermarkets’ empty shelves to questions around access to free school meals, issues of food supply chains and food access have come to the fore during the UK pandemic lockdown. The covid-19 pandemic crisis has created disruptions across the food economy, resulting in an upsurge of interest of consumers in buying local food, along with an increased reliance on alternative food networks and local food stores.
Or are we just happier griping about Brexit? And watching Samuel Buckett's new play? "Waiting for Ocado"?
One point that I can augment this with is allotments, when allied shipping was being sunk en masse during WW2 the government took the 'Dig For Victory' initiative. As for Ocado and suchlike, I used to get a lot of house callers (mainly young women) trying to get me contracted to daily recipe box deliveries with "fresher produce than anywhere else". My explanation that I'd rather get the exercise walking to a supermarket, choosing what I want to eat and interacting with other people rather than forlornly looking out of my front room window all day waiting for a food parcel to arrive didn't seem to wash with them.
There's an objective, fact-checked assessment of driver shortages on today's 'More or Less' programme (BBC Radio 4, presented by a Financial Times journalist). Link here, starts around 11 minutes in. Lots of numbers, and lots of "are they sure".
One point to pick up on is that as far back as 2015 (pre-Brexit), the Road Haulage Association reckoned there was a 50,000 driver shortage in the workforce, so those [John D] who have asked "what were they doing about it?" have a point, before Covid chucked another and bigger spanner in the works.
Whether there's a 100,000 shortage now, or not - well, listen to the programme...... it'll only take eight minutes or so.
Thanks, I'll have a listen to that. Having largely given up on the BBC's radio and TV broadcasts now, the presentation by an FT journalist must give it some credibility.
Have you given up on BBC programmes full-stop, or just given up on the broadcast versions?
Almost completely Hugh, mainly because there is little on it that I am interested in, and I find it to be biased, skewed to the left and woke. I don't watch soaps or dramas, their repeated features or their modern atrocious 'comedies'. I watch more features on Youtube, look around the world for news, including Al Jazeera and African broadcasts which seem to be better produced. BBC viewership is declining year upon year as people are refusing to pay the licence fee, I believe it should make its own way in the world as a subscription service. The BBC was good in its time, but not now.
I still appreciate some of the output of the broadcast channels, but I know I’m in in shrinking section of the population that does. I now mix streamed channels and broadcast (mainly in recorded or streamed formats). My other half’s consumption of video-based output sounds much more like yours than mine.
I’m sure much has been written on the implications of the channel shift that we’re now well into. Like many changes being brought about by advancing tech, I wonder how much it’s fragmenting us all rather than uniting us. I suppose it’s a mix of the two.