uk traffic lorry
© Jaroslaw Kilian

Pleas to consider the logistics industry appear to have been ignored, as leaked documents reveal plans to end free movement of European labour in the UK after Brexit.

Proposals in Home Office documents seek to end free movement of all but the most highly skilled EU workers from entering the UK from 2019.

Following last year’s referendum, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) stressed the importance of both the logistics industry and EU workers to the UK economy, claiming EU workers comprise 13% of the UK’s HGV drivers and 26% of its warehouse operatives.

Deputy chief executive of the FTA James Hookham said the UK “depends” on this work force to “keep the country moving”.

He added: “Who’s going to deliver Christmas 2019 without the EU drivers and warehouse staff?

“Logistics is so important to the British economy. If we want to keep Britain trading, we need to find ways to solve the existing skills shortage and not exacerbate the problem.”

He said the country had around 30,000 fewer HGV drivers on the road than required to meet demand.

And he said last year’s vote had not helped, with many EU drivers opting to leave due to uncertainty, the devaluation of the pound and what is perceived as a “general disrespect” for what they bring the country.

In light of the leak, the FTA will be making a submission to the Migration Advisory Committee – a body formed to assess the consequences of ending EU migration into the UK – on the “reliance” of the logistics sector on EU workers.

“While we support policies intended to make migrants and the country better off, disrupting the logistics industry would certainly have the reverse effect,” said Mr Hookham.

“Government policy needs to be more targeted and support and protect our vital industries, such as logistics, in the interests of everyone.”

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