Bitter French newspaper mocks Brexit aftermath – ‘Labour shortages and missing products’

Brexit: David Lammy hits out at Grant Shapps over 'promises'

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It alleged UK supply chain problems, products missing in shops and the departure of EU workers were all caused by Britain’s exit from the bloc. The claim was made by Libération, a centre-left paper, which ran a frontpage stating: “Brexit: the disenchantment of the aftermath.”

This was accompanied by an image of a toilet paper holder with just one sheet left, which has the word ‘Brexit’ superimposed on top of it.

Labour shortages have been reported in a number of industries, with sectors hit by a lack of delivery drivers.

A small number of BP petrol stations were forced to close on Thursday, as the driver shortage hit their supplies.

The Government insists gas stocks won’t run out, and has urged the public not to panic buy.

Libération wrote: “Labour shortage in the disrupted logistics chain, missing products, departures of European citizens.

“With the gradual end of the Covid crisis, the United Kingdom is beginning to see concretely the consequences of its exit from the European Union.”

The UK is currently short of around 100,000 HGV [heavy good vehicle] drivers.

In response, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) is asking the Government to loosen visa requirements, so more foreign drivers can be temporarily brought in.

Speaking to the BBC, Rod McKenzie, from the RHA, said: “It’s as simple as this: everything we get in Britain comes on the back of a truck.

“So if there is a shortage of HGV drivers – and there is by 100,000 – then it is inevitable that we are not going to get all the things we want when we want them.”

Appearing on BBC Breakfast, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps refused to rule out bringing in troops to drive fuel tankers.

He said: “If it can actually help, we will bring them in.”

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The Libération front page came under fire on social media, with critics claiming the paper is out of touch with British sentiment outside of London.

Dan Salt replied: “I don’t know anyone unhappy – in fact most people don’t even talk about it anymore.

“French journalists would get further if they left London and especially met people outside of the Islington dinner party crowd – in France try leaving Paris you might learn something.”

Vanessa Atalanta added: “Nobody cares about the truth, only the narrative.”

Florence Woodle agreed, writing: “Spot on.”

However, opinion wasn’t unanimous, with Thomas Baker posting: “Brexit is and unmitigated disaster. You cannot name a single benefit.”

Supermarket Iceland is urging the Government to add HGV drivers to the skilled occupations list, so they can be brought in from abroad.

Speaking to the BBC, the company’s managing director Richard Walker said: “I think the solution – even if it’s temporary – is very, very simple.

“Let’s get HGV drivers on to the skilled worker list.”

The coronavirus pandemic prevented thousands of HGV tests going ahead, adding to the shortage of drivers.
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