Labour is urging the Government to appoint a minister with responsibility for tackling the shortage of workers and supplies of goods in a bid to tackle the current “chaos and disruption” hitting firms.
The opposition warned that the UK’s economic recovery was at risk as business groups continue to report problems hiring skilled staff and obtaining goods and raw materials.
Labour added that around 250,000 manufacturing and retail businesses have seen extra costs due to additional transportation costs.
The party called for the appointment of a minister with specific responsibility for tackling the supply chain “crisis”, a taskforce to help with recruitment, and 100,000 new apprentices this financial year to help boost employment in sectors of the economy.
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said: “The Government must get a grip on the supply chain crisis facing our economy. While they act as if the problem will solve itself, businesses are telling Government these problems are only going to grow.
“Ministers have a habit of ignoring warnings and shifting the burden of blame to businesses, but it is their undermining of our country’s skills training system, failure to deliver on their promise to cut barriers facing businesses and belief in an insecure labour market with poor terms and conditions that has created this crisis.
“The long-term problems in the HGV sector will not be solved by making drivers work longer hours but by training workers and improving their terms and conditions.
“What we are seeing across our economy should be a wake-up call to Government that insecurity and low pay cannot build the high performing economy we need.
“It’s time for the Prime Minister to take this situation seriously and appoint a minister to work across Government and come up with a clear plan with businesses and unions to improve wages and conditions in key sectors.”