As car lines formed for a fourth straight day on Monday outside UK gas stations, the government is considering calling in the military to help alleviate a fuel shortage attributed to a lack of truckers.
The British Medical Association has called for healthcare workers to have priority access to available fuel. Petroleum Retailers Association president Brian Madderson said military personnel are being trained to operate the tankers.
The government has said it has “no intention at this time” to deploy troops, but is preparing for any eventuality.
The Petroleum Retailers Association, which represents some 5,500 independent retailers, revealed on Sunday that two-thirds of its members report running out of fuel, as the trucker shortage has caused motorists to rush to stations for transportation. reservations.
London assures that the United Kingdom has “ample reserves of fuel” and blames the behavior of the consumers.
“The only reason we’re running out of fuel […] is that people buy fuel which they do not need ”, denounced the Minister of the Environment, George Eustice.
British Medical Association President Dr Chaand Nagpaul said healthcare workers and other essential workers should be granted “priority access to fuel so that they can continue their essential work and ensure patient care. “.
Shortage of truckers
The UK trucking industry says it needs 100,000 more truckers, amid a perfect storm of factors like the COVID-19 pandemic, aging workers and the departure of foreign drivers after London slammed the door of the European Union last year. The new rules mean residents of the European bloc now need a visa to live and work in the UK.
Several countries, including Germany and the United States, also lack truckers. The problem is particularly visible in the UK, where empty shelves in supermarkets and closed pumps are reported.
The government has temporarily allowed the oil companies to work together to target sectors where supply is particularly difficult.
London has also mobilized military examiners to speed up the licensing of truckers who have completed their training. Minister Eustice said the government has no intention of handing the wheel over to soldiers at this time.
The government also announced on Saturday that it will grant temporary visas to thousands of foreign truckers to prevent British families from suffering from various shortages during the holiday season.
Around 5,000 three-month visas will be issued to truckers from October, and 5,500 to poultry workers.
Several stakeholders believe, however, that these measures will be insufficient. Others wonder how many truckers will want to come and work in the UK for just three months.
Olaf Scholz, the leader of the party that won the elections in Germany on Sunday, said it is up to the British to deal with the problems that arise directly from their decision to leave the European Union.