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HGV Driver Shortage Shuts UK Petrol Stations

As petrol stations closed across the country and long queues formed at those which were open, fears grew of a fresh crisis caused by the severe shortage of lorry drivers in the UK. The delays in the supply chain have already led to weeks of empty shelves in supermarkets, and dire warnings about Christmas deliveries.

The government has come under criticism for not taking more decisive action to solve the problem, which organisations such as Logistics UK have been warning about for several months. Although an increase in capacity for HGV testing has been announced, many in the industry fear that this is too little, too late.

Speaking to Sky News, the transport secretary Grant Shapps said: "We'll do whatever it takes. We'll move heaven and earth to do whatever we can to make sure that shortages are alleviated with HGV drivers." However, Chris Yarsley, Logistic UK’s policy manager, thinks that more needs to be done to tackle the mounting issues, as Fleet News reports.

He said: “This includes boosting apprenticeships and access to funding there, as well as introducing short term visas to attract European drivers to help address the shortage. There are even things to do with infrastructure and facilities for lorry drivers that can make the profession less appealing, so there are many areas where policy can make a difference.”

Shapps has suggested to the BBC that if necessary, the army would be drafted in to drive fuel tankers, although it is not yet confirmed if this will be the case.

However, he was resistant to suggestions that visa rules for foreign workers should be relaxed to help the situation, despite calls from haulage industry leaders, members of the construction industry, and bosses of supermarket chains such as Morrisons, Iceland, and Ocado.

 

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