The army as reinforcements. Around 200 soldiers will be deployed from Monday to the UK to deliver fuel to service stations affected by shortages due to lack of truck drivers and panic buying, the government said on Friday.
“Nearly 200 soldiers, including 100 drivers, will be deployed from Monday to provide temporary support as part of the government’s action to ease pressure on gas stations and respond to the lack of truck drivers,” said indicated an official release. These soldiers are currently completing their training for this purpose.
The government has also said it will immediately allow up to 300 foreign tanker drivers to work in the UK until the end of March 2022, as part of the granting of thousands of temporary work visas intended to relieve supply chains.
Since last week, long queues have formed in front of service stations, faced with supply problems due to a lack of truck drivers (100,000 according to professionals). They were marked in certain places by altercations between motorists at the end of their tether.
This exceptional situation is the latest consequence of the labor shortages caused by the pandemic and Brexit, with delivery problems also affecting supermarket shelves, fast food chains and even pubs.
According to the executive, “the demand for fuels stabilized during the week”, even if “some parts of the country are still experiencing difficulties”. The government keeps repeating that the UK has no shortage of fuels but the shortages are due to the exceptional demand caused by purchases from consumers worried about running out, as had been the case with toilet paper or certain food products. at the start of the pandemic. He conceded, however, that Brexit was an additional ‘factor’.
26% of bag stations
“Thanks to the immense efforts of the industry over the past week, we are seeing persistent signs of a slow improvement in the situation at the pumps,” said Minister of Enterprise Kwasi Kwarteng. “It is important to stress that there is no national fuel shortage in the UK, and people should continue to buy fuel as normal. The sooner we get back to our normal purchasing habits, the faster we can get back to normal, ”he added.
The Petrol Retailers Association, which represents 65% of UK service stations, also saw signs of improvement but felt they were “far too slow”, with 26% of stations still running out of fuel.
In an attempt to remedy the lack of truck drivers and staff in poultry farms, and in the face of the specter of empty shelves at Christmas, the government had already resolved on Saturday to amend its immigration policy and to grant up to 10,500 temporary work visas for a few months.
It also temporarily exempted the fuel distribution sector from competition rules to allow the most affected areas to be delivered as a priority.