BORIS Johnson is being urged to take immediate action to tackle food shortages across the UK as industries warn of price hikes.

A shortage of drivers for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) is believed to be the key reason for the current issues affecting food shortages across UK supermarkets and hospitality.

A large number of EU drivers left the UK following the Brexit deal pushed through by Johnson's government. Hauliers have also said that "high numbers" of workers retiring is another reason for the trouble.

The reported shortfall of drivers in the UK is currently around 100,000 as companies like Greggs, Nandos and KFC have reported supply chain problems.

READ MORE: Food shortages are due to Brexit not Covid pandemic, industry says

There have also been warnings from supermarkets and hauliers that food prices are likely to be higher in the long term due to the lack of drivers.

Deidre Brock MP, the SNP’s Westminster spokesperson on food, has renewed calls for the UK Government to add HGV drivers to the UK Shortage Occupation List – or risk causing further food shortages.

Prior to the pandemic, UK road transport businesses employed approximately 600,000 HGV drivers – 60,000 of whom were EU nationals. 

Brock (below), the MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, said: “The food shortages we are facing now are another direct result of this Tory government’s botched Brexit deal.

The National: Deidre Brock: "Let's not make the same mistakes again."

“Along with the harsh migration rules imposed by Boris Johnson and company, and their refusal to bring in a Real Living Wage, tens of thousands of EU nationals have left the UK to return to their native country and pursue other careers, leaving businesses with major supply and demand issues.

READ MORE: Iceland boss fears Brexit-fuelled supply shortages could cancel Christmas

“The UK Government must take action immediately to grant this vital sector access to the global labour market by adding HGV drivers to the UK Shortage Occupation List, to allow companies across to access the workforce they need to continue operating.

"This underlines once again that if this Tory government hadn't dragged Scotland out of the EU against our will in the first place, and Scotland had the full powers of independence, we wouldn't be facing these issues. Independence is vital to secure a strong and fair recovery for Scotland.”

It comes as Irish taoiseach Micheal Martin has said the UK and EU can find sensible solutions to issues over Northern Ireland's post-Brexit trading arrangements with the right political will.

“A positive and constructive future partnership is in everyone’s interests but it will only be delivered if there is a relationship of trust and a willingness to deliver on commitments entered into,” Martin said after a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron.