The new temporary visa scheme that will allow more than 10,0000 HGV drivers from overseas to operate in the UK for the next three months has been described as the equivalent of throwing a thimble of water on a bonfire.
British chambers of commerce were obviously in no mind to mince their words at the UK Government response to the driver crisis.
The situation has sparked fears of a second cancelled Christmas in a row and led to panic buying of fuel at forecourts up and down the country.
The Road Haulage Association was similarly scathing, saying the three-month reliefs for visas for HGV drivers would barely scratch the surface of the problem.
Temporary visas for overseas #truckers to drive UK lorries is welcome but only scratches the surface, @RHARodMcKenzie told @IanKingSky on @SkyNews. Not yet clear how it will work or how effective it will be. Govt needs to do more to help us tackle #HGV #DriverShortage pic.twitter.com/C9VwxpHcty
— RHA News (@RHANews) September 27, 2021
But a permanent remedy to the HGV drivers crisis will not be easy to find for Boris Johnson.
Opening up the borders – albeit temporarily – to allow foreign workers to come and pick up the slack in the UK economy is a tough pill to swallow for a government which spent years trying to convince the electorate that taking back control through Brexit was in the best interests of the country.
The optics could not be more difficult.
But, given that there are no obvious immediate answers to the unfolding supply chain crisis, that is the bind in which the government has found itself.
Public patience has been stretched to the limit by Brexit and Covid.
And the UK needs a period of calm and stability, not more months of firefighting and insecurity.
Labour, which had its party conference at the weekend, must sense an opportunity in the HGV drivers crisis.
But this is beyond politics.
This is about lives and livelihoods and requires strong leadership now, not carping from the sidelines.