Chamber of Commerce hits out at government’s HGV visa’s plans

The three-month temporary visa offer by the government to HGV drivers on the continent has been described by Suffolk’s Chamber of Commerce as not being enough.

And it said that without further action being taken businesses in the county face “the very real prospect of serious scarring” to its economy.

In a statement, issued by Paul Simon, the head of Policy and Communications at the chamber, he said the government was “out-of-touch” with the realities of its members.

He said: “This appears to be a government curiously out-of-touch at the moment not only with the realities of the needs of our members and the wider Suffolk business community, but with the realities of how people lead their lives.

“The three-month temporary visas being offered to EU HGV drivers falls well short of our calls for a year-long extension, in order for the haulage sector – working with government – to have a plan in place to encourage, develop and train the necessary home-grown drivers.

“We are also worried that this is a rather naïve baby step, as it is predicated upon significant numbers of EU drivers wishing to switch from their current contracts and family commitments to come over to the UK for such a short period of time.”

He urged all the MPs in Suffolk along with council leaders to use their influence in government to significantly expand the number of visas issued within the scheme and convene a summit that brings business and ministers together to find both immediate and longer-term solutions to the many challenges facing firms throughout the UK.

And he added: “Without further action, we now face the very real prospect of serious scarring to the Suffolk economy, stifled growth as well as another less than happy Christmas for many local businesses and their customers in the county and beyond.”

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