To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the stability of the food supply chain; and what plans they have to ensure that (1) food, and (2) other perishable items, are not blocked in warehouses due to a shortage of lorry drivers.
7 February 2022
In December 2021, the Government published the UK Food Security Report, an analysis of statistical data on food security. This is the first in a series of reports to be published triennially. This landmark report shows we have a resilient and stable food supply-chain which adapted quickly throughout the pandemic. Perishable products across the food supply chain have continued to be delivered to meet demand.
Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains.
We are engaging with the food industry to collect evidence to devise appropriate solutions to alleviate supply chain bottlenecks.
Some of these Government-led key measures include: the Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency's action to increase HGV tests to 3,000 per week; the Department for Transport's 16-week skills bootcamps to train new and returning drivers; and the streamlining of the HGV testing regulatory framework, increasing testing capacity by around 50,000.
In addition, the Transport Secretary has relaxed driver hours regulation, allowing more flexibility in response to supply disruptions from the Omicron variant. This relaxation will last until 10 February 2022 in England, Scotland, and Wales.