The government is to call in the army "imminently" to help with the HGV driver shortage, it has been reported.

Sources at the Daily Mail and other media claim that around 2,000 HGV drivers from the Royal Logistics Corps and other regimments have been put on five-day notice to distribute food and other essentials as the crisis deepens.

It is understood that the government has sent messages to all army personnel with HGV qualifications as RHA chairman Moreton Cullimore puts the latest driver shortfall figure at around 100,000.

The government is said to be planning to put soldiers up in hotels and ask them to work extended hours.

The plan will form part of Operation Rescript - the British military operation to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The news comes only three days after the government extended the temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours rules until 3 October, in a move criticised by the industry as not making “any material difference” to the driver shortage.

The Department for Transport said the extension reflected “the exceptional circumstances arising from the cumulative impacts of the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic and an acute shortage of drivers of heavy goods vehicles, which adversely affect the carriage of goods by road, causing acute supply chain pressures.”

However, the RHA said the relaxation, until 3 October, wouldn't fix the lack of available HGV drivers, but a package of short and long term measures could resolve the issue.

News of potential millitary involvement comes after MT reported in June that UK distributors had demanded that the army be mobilised to prevent the imminent breakdown of the country’s food supply chain.

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) warned that its members were struggling to get food deliveries out to the supermarkets, restaurants, pubs, schools and care homes that they serve. Some convenience stores had been forced to put up signs warning customers of empty shelves due to the lack of delivery drivers, the FWD reported.