As the UK faces a shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers, the British Army has been placed on standby to help deliver supplies to empty supermarket shelves.
Around 2,000 military personnel with HGV qualifications are believed to be on a five-day notice to help the struggling supply chain, distributing food and medicine, as well as other essential supplies, according to The Sun on Sunday
A source has said that the government is due to make a formal request to the Armed Forces for help, meaning that members of the Royal Logistics Corps and other regiments could be expected to receive the call for help by the end of September.
The source said that messages have already been sent out to all Army personnel with HGV qualifications, and added: “They are being put on five-day standby notice for driving jobs at major distribution centres around the country. Soldiers will be put up in hotels where necessary and will be working extended hours to assist with the crisis.
“They will be involved with food distribution as well as the transportation of other essential goods and medical supplies.”
The move will come under the umbrella of Operation Rescript, the military’s ongoing efforts to battle the pandemic.
According to the Road Haulage Association (RHA), there is a shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers, with many EU drivers returning home post-Brexit, and thousands of people being forced to wait for their HGV tests due to a backlog caused by the lockdown.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps temporarily increased the maximum time lorry drivers can spend on the road. However, lorry drivers have slammed the relaxation of rules as ‘stupid and dangerous’ – as critics accused the Government of relying on short-term solutions.
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