MPs to examine food and drink supply chain issues
As food distributors warn disruption due to driver shortages will intensify in the run up to Easter, a group of MPs has launched a special inquiry examining HGV driver availability and its impact on the food and drink supply chain.
Chaired by Matt Vickers MP, the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Food and Drink Supply Chain will hear from organisations supplying food and drink into schools, hospitals and care homes, as well as pubs, restaurants and retail settings.
They will examine the severity of the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK, the challenges still facing businesses in recruiting drivers, the steps the government has and should be taking to support the sector, and the impact on the price and availability of food.
The inquiry will place over the next month and will provide a series of recommendations to government ahead of the suspected demand peak in April.
Chair of the APPG, Matt Vickers MP, said, “The food and drink supply chain plays a vital role in our daily life but many of the businesses providing these important services are hidden from the public’s view.
“Our group and inquiry will serve to shine a light on the issues facing these companies carrying out vital work to keep our nation fed.
“The labour shortages last year served to demonstrate just how it important it is that the sector is adequately equipped and the dire consequences which follow when there is a breakdown in the supply chain.
“We want to understand the extent to which these supply chain issues are still plaguing the sector and determine the best policy options available to mitigate any potential issues.”
Members of FWD say that labour shortages have stablised since Christmas rather than improved, but as January and February are traditionally quiet months, the full impact is yet to be seen. They suggest they have not seen the level of recruitment, particularly of HGV drivers, which would prevent a repeat of last year’s distribution issues as hospitality demand increases in the spring.All Party Parliamentary Group on the Food and Drink Supply Chain Government HGV drivers supply chain