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Shortage of HGV drivers 'not surprising' but Brexit 'not the main cause'

Professor Jonathan Portes on Euronews Now.
Professor Jonathan Portes on Euronews Now. Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Tokunbo SalakoEuronews
Published on Updated
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Shortage of truck drivers "not surprising after reopening post-Covid" and "Brexit has aggravated this but is not the main cause", professor of economics and public policy Jonathan Portes told Euronews.

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The British army was put on standby on Monday to help ease fuel supply chain issues caused by a shortage of truck drivers as scenes of panic buying were observed across the UK.

Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics and public policy at King's College London, told Euronews that the shortage of truck drivers was "not surprising after reopening post-Covid" and that "Brexit had aggravated this" but was not the main cause.

With Brexit, drivers are also choosing not to return to the UK, as large numbers of them now prefer "EU stability" and the perspective of higher salaries working in France or Germany.

Portes said the shortage of HGV drivers has multiple causes, such as the general drivers' shortage in Europe, as well as the testing delays and tax changes, but Brexit clearly is a factor.

"We need to distinguish between short-term disruptions, which are politically important but not just caused by Brexit and which will eventually be resolved, and long-term impacts of Brexit on trade, migration, etc, which are only just beginning," he said.

"Drivers feeling 'unwanted' in the UK isn't a reason either as lots of Europeans have applied for the settlement scheme," Portes added.

The professor of economics does not believe Christmas will be cancelled, as many have said due to the raising fears linked to the supermarkets' shortages. "People may have to pay more for their turkey, but that's not the end of the world," he added.

Watch the full interview with our anchor Tokunbo Salako in the video player above.

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