UK’s supply network of food and medicine faces crisis after nearly HALF of lorries are taken off road – The Sun
BRITAIN'S vital supply chain could "grind to a halt" as nearly half of the country's lorries have been taken off the road since the coronavirus crisis began, an industry body has warned.
The lorries are transporting essential goods such as food and medicine up and down Britain as the country continues to battle the ever-worsening pandemic.
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It comes as the UK's coronavirus death toll surged past 10,000 today to 10,612, after the department of health reported 737 deaths in the last 24 hours.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) warned it is reaching crisis point with many transport firms are on the "brink of collapse".
If they go under, the UK's fleet of lorries which deliver essentials will stand idle.
But 46 per cent of the trucks have been taken off the road since the crisis began, an RHA survey found.
'BRINK OF COLLAPSE'
Richard Burnett, RHA chief executive, told the Daily Mail that "many firms are in danger of going out of business permanently".
Mr Burnett said: "The measures the Government have come up with simply don't work.
"An average haulier will make maybe 2 per cent margin, they'll have two to three weeks cashflow within their business.
"We've got hauliers at the moment who can't even furlough their staff, because they have insufficient cash to pay those employees.
"We need cash, we need grants, we need help to balance and normalise this cashflow problem, and the loan system simply doesn't work at this point in time."
The measures the Government have come up with simply don't work
The main income for many independent hauliers is transporting equipment for large concerts and events, all of which have been cancelled due to coronavirus.
Others have been hit by a lack of international imports after airports all but closed down due to the crisis.
Almost 50 per cent of the food consumed in Britain is imported with 29 per cent of that from Europe.
The RHA said the coronavirus epidemic has the potential to cause "catastrophic effects" on haulage firms if supplies cannot cross borders.
"The Government will need to provide more radical financial support to ensure they survive," added Mr Burnett.
"What we're seeing now, and have seen so far, is the tip of the iceberg."
Meanwhile, the Government has reassured people that there "isn't a shortage of food" because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Environment Secretary George Eustice told MPs in the Commons that there is "significant resilience in our food supply chain" amid public concern over Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
He said: "There isn't a shortage of food, the challenge that we've had is getting food to shelves in time when people have been purchasing more."
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