UK aims to reduce shortage of truck drivers with visas by 2022
LONDON – Britain’s government, under mounting pressure to ease truck driver shortages and supply-chain issues that have left many supermarket shelves dry and gas pumps dry, said on Saturday it would hire thousands of foreign truck drivers. Offering temporary visa. Next year.
It also said military tanker truck drivers would be deployed across the country on Monday to help deliver gas to gas stations.
The government’s announcement a week ago that foreign truck drivers and poultry workers would be allowed to work in Britain for three months – an attempt to tide the country through Christmas – drew criticism from British business leaders and the public. British Chambers of Commerce President Ruby McGregor-Smith likened the move to “throwing a drop of water on a bonfire”.
Now, 300 foreign tanker truck drivers will be allowed to come immediately and work in the country till the end of March, the government said on Saturday. In addition, 4,700 food haulage drivers will be allowed to arrive from the end of October and stay till the end of February.
Long lines formed at gas stations in London and other parts of Britain last week as motorists resorted to panic after some stations ran out of fuel. But unlike the widespread shortages resulting from OPEC’s oil embargo in the 1970s, this time the problem has been a lack of trained drivers rather than a lack of fuel.
According to the Road Haulage Association, the country is short of 100,000 truck drivers, about 20 per cent of them drivers who left the UK in 2016 after voting to leave the European Union.
Opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer on Friday urged the government to take “emergency action” to deal with the crisis. “We are going to revisit this driver shortage problem in various regions,” he said in a statement.
Britain’s trade secretary, Quasi Quarteng, on Saturday urged motorists to avoid gas panic.
“It is important to emphasize that there is no national shortage of fuel in the UK, and that people should continue to buy fuel as normal,” he said in a government statement. “The sooner we return to our normal shopping habits, the sooner we can return to normalcy.”
He said gas delivery at the forecourt was now “above normal levels” and gas demand was “stable”.
The Defense Secretary, Ben Wallace, said that “while the situation stabilizes, our armed forces are there to fill any critical vacancies and help the country move forward by supporting industry to deliver fuel to the forecourt.”
The government said about 200 military tanker truck personnel, including 100 drivers, would be deployed to ease the pressure at gas stations.
#aims #reduce #shortage #truck #drivers #visas