UK aims to alleviate shortage of truck drivers with visas to 2022
LONDON – The British government is under mounting pressure to ease a shortage of truck drivers and supply chain issues that have left many supermarket shelves exhausted and dry gas pumpsOn Saturday, it said it would extend temporary visas offered to thousands of foreign truck drivers until next year.
It also said that drivers of military tanker trucks will be deployed across the country on Monday to help deliver gas to gas stations.
The government announced a week ago that Foreign truck drivers and poultry workers He will be allowed to work in Britain for three months – in an effort to steer the country’s tides over Christmas – prompting criticism from British business leaders and the public. Robbie MacGregor Smith, president of the British Chambers of Commerce, compared the move to “Throwing a water thimble on a fire. “
Now, 300 foreign tanker truck drivers will be granted immediate access and allowed to work in the country until the end of March, according to the government. He said on Saturday. In addition, 4,700 food transport drivers will be allowed to arrive from late October and stay until the end of February.
Long queues at gas stations Across London and other parts of Britain last week as motorists resorted to panic buying after some stations ran out of fuel. But unlike the widespread shortages that resulted from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil embargo in the 1970s, this time the problem was a lack of trained drivers rather than a lack of fuel per se.
The country is short of 100,000 truck drivers, according to the Road Transport Association, and about 20 percent of those drivers left Britain after voting in 2016 to leave the European Union.
Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labor Party, urged the government on Friday to take “emergency measures” to tackle the crisis. “We will see the driver shortage problem coming back again in different sectors,” he said in a statement.
Britain’s business minister, Kwasi Quarting, urged motorists on Saturday to refrain from buying gas out of panic.
“It is important to stress that there is no national fuel shortage in the UK, and people should continue to buy fuel as normal,” he said in the government statement. “The sooner we get back to our normal purchasing habits, the sooner we can get back to normal.”
He added that gas shipments to the front yard were now “above normal levels” and that gas demand was “stabilizing”.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace added that “while the situation stabilizes, our armed forces are there to fill any critical vacancies and help keep the country on the move by supporting industry to deliver fuel to the front fields.”
The government said about 200 military truck personnel, including 100 drivers, would be deployed to relieve pressure on gas stations.