The government’s Supply Chain Taskforce, launched in the midst of the driver shortage crisis in September last year, was dumped just days later in a reshuffle and may never have convened, the Labour Party has revealed.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, slammed the move this week, accusing the government of creating a “fake taskforce” and having no real plan to solve the problem.

The task force, headed by former Tesco chief Sir David Lewis, was created as the lorry driver shortage crisis, IR35, Brexit border controls and the peak delivery season combined to create major supply chain issues around the country.

Lewis was tasked with advising the Prime Minister and Steven Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, on how to deliver rapid improvements, resolve “acute, short-term issues”, and bring long-term changes to the UK supply chain.

His brief included identifying the causes of current blockages and pre-empting potential future ones, advising on resolutions, working closely with industry to improve government access to data, and building better ways to respond to future blockages.

However in response to a recent parliamentary question from Angela Rayner, Cabinet office minister Michael Ellis confirmed the taskforce no longer exists.

He said: “When the prime minister’s cabinet committee structures were refreshed, was updated in October 2021 and this no longer included the National Economic Taskforce (Logistics).”

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He added that logistics and supply chains remained “a priority” for the government, adding that they were “discussed regularly by ministers in a range of forums”.

In a response to a separate question, Ellis declined to comment on whether the logistics taskforce had met “at least once” before it was removed from the list of cabinet committees.

He cited a “long-established precedent” that prevented him from publicly revealing what takes place in Cabinet committees.

Rayner said the decision to axe the taskforce has left the government “unprepared for the problems facing our country, which will only make the cost of living crisis worse".

She told The Independent: “They lurch from crisis to crisis. Instead of serious solutions, all they’ve got is gimmicks and fake announcements to grab cheap headlines, with no real plan to solve the problem. The consequences are clear – travel chaos and spiralling prices for ordinary people.

“Now they’ve been caught creating a fake taskforce to hide the fact that they don’t have a plan to protect supply chains and ease the travel disruption Brits are experiencing.”

Andy Prendergast, national secretary of the GMB union, said: “The logistics crisis has had serious consequences across the economy – yet it gets no more than lip service from the government."