Councillors are calling on the government to act now to avoid a breakdown in essential services that rely on HGV drivers.

In southern Oxfordshire, district councils have suspended garden waste collections to ensure household and food waste can still be collected.

Liberal Democrats in Oxfordshire are calling for the government to extend the grant for apprentice HGV drivers and encourage foreign HGV drivers to work in the UK by relaxing visa rules and ending 'hostile environment rhetoric'.

Figures from the Road Haulers Association have shown that the top three reasons for the national shortage is Brexit, retirement and tighter enforcement of IR35, a self-employment tax.

Councillor Emily Smith, Lib Dem leader on Vale of White Horse District Council said: “No one wants to see empty shelves and full bins, it’s time for action.”

“This isn’t just the pingdemic, Brexit has led to around 20 per cent of waste lorry drivers leaving for the EU and has put off more from coming to the UK.

“The government should have been planning for this situation since the Brexit referendum when they were warned this would happen. They urgently need to step up and do what it takes to get this sorted.”

Councillor Sue Cooper said: “If the government doesn’t sort this out we’re looking at a Christmas where we won’t know whether you’ll have sprouts on your plate or a stocking under the tree."

“Experts in several industries, from supermarkets to waste, are saying the shortage of drivers is now critical, it's about time the government acted."

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