The Spectator

Is Brexit really to blame for the shortage of lorry drivers?


Birth of the Paralympics

While Athens can claim to be the home city of the Olympic Games, the Paralympics can be traced to Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, where, on the day of the opening ceremony of the 1948 London Olympics, neuroscientist Sir Ludwig Guttmann — a German-Jewish émigré — held an archery competition for 16 of his spinal patients. The following year it was expanded into the Stoke Mandeville Games, involving several events for wheelchair-bound patients. In 1952, competitors from the Netherlands were invited to take part too. The first Paralympics coinciding with the Olympic Games were held in Rome in 1960.

Keep on trucking

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has complained of a shortage of 100,000 lorry drivers, which is leading to shortages in the shops. What is to blame?

— Prior to the pandemic and Brexit, about 600,000 lorry drivers were employed in Britain.

— It is an ageing group of workers, with an average age of 55. Fewer than 1% are aged under 25 and 13% are over 60.

— Prior to Brexit, 100,000 drivers working in Britain were foreign nationals.

— Prior to the pandemic and Brexit, the RHA was already claiming a shortage of 60,000 drivers.

— The industry relies on a high turnover. In a normal year before the pandemic, around 72,000 candidates applied for licences, 40,000 of whom were successful.

— Lockdowns led to the loss of 30,000 test slots. As a result, last year only 15,000 completed their training.


London mayor Sadiq Khan was criticised for taking a three-vehicle convoy to walk his dog in Battersea Park — while imploring everyone else to cut down on their car use.

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