UK government backs scheme for motorway cables to power lorries

Road freight is one of the hardest parts of the economy to decarbonise, because no technology exists yet on a large scale that is capable of powering long-haul lorries with zero direct exhaust emissions. 
The government has announced it will fund the design of a scheme to install overhead electric cables to power electric lorries on a motorway near Scunthorpe, as part of a series of studies on how to decarbonise road freight.

The electric road system – or e-highway – study, backed with £2m of funding, will draw up plans to install overhead cables on a 20km (12.4 miles) stretch of the M180 near Scunthorpe, in Lincolnshire. If the designs are accepted and building work is funded the trucks could be on the road by 2024.

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The UK has seen a rise in payrolled workers for the seventh month straight as the economy appears to recover.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said payroll figures rose for the seventh month in a row between May and June, whilst firms saw their need for employees soar as hospitality reopened ahead of the final lifting of COVID restrictions.

This is the biggest increase we’ve seen since 2014.

March to May 2021 showed that employment was at 74.8%, unemployment was at 4.8% and economic inactivity was at 21.3%.

The figures also show that the unemployment dropped once more, to 4.8% between March and May, against 5% from December to February, but in line with a revised figure of 4.8% for the three months to April.

However, despite the increases, the number of payrolled workers has still fallen by 206,000 since the pandemic hit.

Darren Morgan, ONS director of economic statistics, said: “The labour market is continuing to recover, with the number of employees on payroll up again strongly in June.

“The number of job vacancies continued to rise very strongly.

“The biggest sector driving this was hospitality, followed by wholesaling and retailing.

“As the economy gradually reopened, the unemployment rate fell in March to May. This was especially marked for younger people, who had been hardest hit by earlier lockdowns.”

Four-Day Working Week Unlikely in the UK

Would you be willing to reduce your working hours if it meant a reduction in wages?

8 out of 10 British employees would not favour a four-day working week at the cost of their wages, according to research by cross-party thinktank, the Social Market Foundation (SMF).

This research saw a clear divide in the sectors, with white-collar workers and those in high-paying jobs in favour of cutting their working hours, even if it resulted in a loss of earnings.
In comparison, care workers and those in the hospitality sector said they would rather work more hours.

This scheme has been trialled in Iceland and has seen huge success. Participants have reported increased wellbeing, whereas productivity at work has either stayed the same or, in some cases, improved.

The SMF has warned that the four-day week is unlikely to become the norm in the UK unless it becomes clear who will be picking up the tab. There are also concerns that it would be deemed elitist, with only the highest earning members of society able to benefit.

“This presents a problem for campaigners: if they wish to make the scheme as attractive as possible then they need to explain who, if not workers, will bear the cost,” said Jake Shepherd, researcher at the Social Market Foundation.

Lorry Driver Shortage Threatens Haribo Sweets

Will it take a nationwide scarcity of your favourite sweets to realise the severity of the haulage driver shortage? The lack of drivers on the roads has been heightened due to the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit, with an estimated 30,000 HGV driving tests not taking place this last year because of the pandemic.

Driver Recruitment is something we focus heavily on at Sure Group and a vast majority of candidates go on to enjoy a very long and rewarding career in the industry.

Read more here –

Covid Staff Shortage Could Shut Meat Production Lines

The staff shortage crisis continues to grow, with up to one in ten members of staff in meat processing plants being required to self isolate.

These shortages are causing havoc, with concerns that some companies could be forced to shut down entirely due to insufficient staffing, warns Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA).

This shortage however, was prevalent even before the pandemic hit. Brexit has caused a large disruption in staffing levels in the meat industry due to many employees drawing 80% of their staff from the European Union.

“We’ve been calling on the government for months to add butchers to the Shortage Occupation List, which would allow the industry to temporarily fill these growing vacancies with overseas workers until the current crisis has passed,” Nick Allen said.

Working hours rules for HGV drivers to be relaxed to ease the UK lorry driver shortage.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced a ‘temporary extension’ of safety limits applied to the hours that HGV drivers are currently able to work, as a temporary fix for a severe shortage of drivers.

The extension will come into force on Monday 12th July allowing drivers and operators to make slightly longer journeys, with many industry professionals calling for the army to step in and help make deliveries.

HGV drivers however, vehemently oppose this relaxation of rules due to concerns over tiredness and increased risk of accidents on the road.

Under current rules, drivers can clock up a maximum of four nine-hour driving periods per week with a 45-minute break after each 4.5 hours spent driving. This can be extended twice a week to 10 hours behind the wheel, provided drivers take two 45-minute breaks but must not exceed 90 hours of driving over a two-week period.

The pandemic alongside Brexit has significantly impacted the HGV industry as many EU nationals have been forced to return to their native countries causing staff shortages in logistics and other sectors such as construction and hospitality.

EU Settlement Scheme Statistics 2021

With the deadline to apply for EU Settled Status behind us, work has been carried out on analysing the number of applicants in 2021.

This year, the Government has determined that 6,015,400 applications were received in total and 5,446,300 of those are now concluded.

This is significantly higher than last year, when the Home Office determined that 5,301,470 applications were received by the same date.

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British farm workers offered up to £20 an hour due to Brexit and Covid

Farm workers have seen their wages soar to almost £20 an hour due to a chronic labour shortage caused by both Brexit and the Covid pandemic.

This staggering amount is almost double the current National Minimum Wage, which currently stands at £8.91 an hour for adults over the age of 23, while workers as young as 18-20 can expect a minimum of £6.56 an hour.

Due to Brexit, fewer seasonal workers are coming in from Europe and few Britons are applying for the roles. Farmers estimate that 500,000 workers are needed for cultivation, including pickers, packers and drivers.

Whilst this sharp rise in wages is good for employees, farmers have expressed their concern citing that they are now spending up to 60% more on labour than in previous years.

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Physical Right to Work checks could delay thousands of people getting back into work every day.

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) has warned that thousands of people could be delayed in getting back to work if the Home Office does not continue with digitally conducting Right to Work Checks.
Digital RTW Checks were introduced in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic and have allowed employers to hire new staff without the need to meet them in person to check documents.
However, the Home Office has reversed this change and as of June 21st, all RTW Checks are to be conducted in person. The REC has determined that this could potentially delay over 300,000 people a week in starting work.
The REC has written to the Home Office urging them to extend the digital RTW checks until a more permanent digital solution is in place, or at the very least until all restrictions are lifted.
To read more please click here –

21-year-old Harley comes joint runner up for Carer of the Year 2021

Each of our 60+ personal carers at Sure Healthcare have their own incredible stories of caring for their clients, but 21-year-old Harley Murray’s caught the attention of judges at this year’s HullLive Health & Care Awards resulting in him being shortlisted for Carer of the Year.

Harley is a caregiver who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to the delivery of care addressing and meeting the overall health and wellness needs of clients, all while studying full time to become a graphic designer at York University.

One of Harley’s main clients is 52-year-old Shaun, who is wheelchair bound and suffers from a multitude of health conditions. Harley’s commitment and compassion caring for Shaun was witnessed by Shaun’s family during a visit and were that impressed they felt the need to express their gratitude.

As a company, Sure Healthcare contacts clients and their families often to get regular feedback about our care provision – good or bad. The positive reviews we receive are a lovely reminder about our caregiver’s dedication to the lives of their clients.

What makes Harley’s story different is that this review was completely unsolicited. Shaun’s family voluntarily took time out of their busy day to research the Sure Healthcare website to seek out the email address to send on their words of appreciation.

The letter recognised Harley as a true asset to Sure Healthcare, citing his professionalism dealing with a complex medical situation, as well as his long-standing commitment to caring for Shaun while coping with his own personal battles.

Will Draper, Managing Director of Sure Healthcare, said: “Harley is no ordinary 21-year-old and I am absolutely delighted he was shortlisted for Carer of the Year.

“The feedback we received about Harley from Shaun’s family was a raw and off-the-cuff review of the care, kindness and compassion witnessed that day. The service provided by Harley was that outstanding, Shaun’s brother felt he just had to let us know and that is something that does not happen often.

“I am extremely proud of Harley and our entire team of caregivers for the hard work and dedication everyone has shown during what has been an incredibly difficult and turbulent year.”

For more information about he HullLive Health & Care Awards click here.