Treasury minister branded ‘ridiculous’ for denying Brexit link to driver shortage

Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury, has been blasted ‘ridiculous’ for arguing that the UK’s shortage of HGV drivers is not related to Brexit.

In an interview with the BBC’s Today programme this morning he said: “The difficulties we are facing are not unique to this country. The idea that this is somehow just a British problem is fundamentally wrong. There’s a shortage of 400,000 HGV drivers across Europe.

“We share that problem. It’s driven in part by workforce demographics, it’s worsened by Covid restrictions.”

When it was suggested that the issue had been worsened by Brexit, Clarke denied that it was.

Gavin Barwell, a Conservative peer who served as Theresa May’s chief of staff during her premiership branded Clarke’s response as ‘ridiculous’, stating via Twitter: “You cannot* simultaneously argue that Brexit has restricted firms’ access to cheap EU labour and will therefore lead to better pay in certain sectors AND current labour shortages have nothing to do with restricting access to EU labour.”