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Dairy logistics firm Arla has warned hundreds of stores across the UK are not receiving milk deliveries due a shortage of HGV drivers.

It is now adding its voice to calls for the government to allow companies to use European drivers again and plug a skills gap that could worsen over the summer.

Speaking to the BBC, Arla UK MD Ash Amirahmadi said it had been struggling to recruit drivers since April: “That has increased to such a level now where we are not able to deliver milk to every store we would like to,” he said.

“Normally we deliver milk to 2,400 stores daily. Unfortunately at the moment, there are about 10% of the stores every day that we can’t deliver to.

“At the weekends it’s worse,” he added. “Last Saturday, there were 600 stores that we couldn’t deliver milk to.”

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Amirahmadi said his concern was the problem deteriorating further over the coming weeks as the existing workforce took annual leave: “We would like to work with the government, first to recognise it’s a crisis,” he said. “Secondly, there’s a backlog of tests for HGV drivers. We predict 30,000 drivers are waiting to be tested.

“We want the government to work with us to accelerate that.”

Amirahmadi added: “We believe that driving should be recognised as a skilled shortage and therefore open up temporary visas for the industry to be able to bring European drivers back into the country.”

Earlier this month, transport secretary Grant Shapps announced a temporary extension of lorry drivers’ working hours in an effort to ease the driver shortage.

However, this move has been criticised in the industry as a “sticking plaster”.