SC: The difficulties we are facing are not unique to this country. The idea that this is somehow just a British problem is fundamentally wrong. There’s a shortage of 400,000 HGV drivers across Europe.
We share that problem. It’s driven in part by workforce demographics, it’s worsened by Covid restrictions.
JW: And worsened by Brexit. That’s just a fact.
SC: Well, no. It’s not a fact.
JW: Really? It’s not a factor at all?
SC: The fact that we want to control immigration, the fact that we need to …
JW: I understand why we did it, and we may still be keen on doing it. But, in the short term, it has [led to labour shortages]. Why can’t we just be plain about it? We would be in a better position vis-a-vis HGV drivers if we had not at least left the single market.
SC: No, I really don’t accept that. We have a problem that we need to fix, but one that is shared by other European countries too. The idea that this is about Brexit is to try and take us back into what is really, I’m afraid, quite a negative conversation around opportunities forgone when, if you look at the situation in Germany, if you look at the situation in Poland, if you look at the situation in France, they share these problems too.