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Leaving the EU/Northern Ireland Protocol: Haulage Industry

Volume 702: debated on Wednesday 27 October 2021

5. What recent assessment his Department has made of the impact of the (a) UK leaving the EU and (b) Northern Ireland protocol on the haulage industry in Northern Ireland. (903818)

Many of the same supply chain issues experienced in Northern Ireland are seen across the United Kingdom. We are seeing a shortage of HGV drivers across all supply chains. The Government have introduced a range of solutions to ease the pressures across the UK. We are separately in intensive discussions with the European Union to find solutions to the current issues that are being caused by how the protocol is being applied. The haulage sector has been impacted and we continue to engage with it to understand the issues it is facing to ensure that the work we do with the EU gets a resolution that works for it.

Logistics UK, which represents 400 haulage operators in Northern Ireland and is responsible for 90% of goods transferred across the Irish sea, welcomed the EU’s proposals to improve the Northern Ireland protocol as a “leap of faith” and a positive step. Why have the UK Government refused to accept those proposals and instead insisted on sinking the negotiations with ideological demands rather than practical considerations?

Again, I am afraid that I need to correct the hon. Lady’s misunderstanding of the situation. I met representatives of the haulage association on Friday who are clear that having looked at the details of the EU proposal, it does not work and it is not enough. They are much more focused on what we outlined in the Command Paper. We need to resolve those issues and I hope that, in the conversation with the EU—it has moved, which we welcome—we will get enough movement to deal with the issues that have been raised by the haulage industry, even those raised on Friday of last week.