Britain expects to relax visas rules if truck driver lack of bite

LONDON, Sept. 25 (Reuters) – Britain is expected to announce: plans until issue temporary work visa for truck drivers to alleviate an acute labor shortage that has led to fuel rationing by hundreds of gas stations and long lines to fill up – with pumps die run dry in some places.

if retailers warned of significant disruption in the run-up until Christmas, die by Prime Minister Boris Johnson office said it was looking for temporary measures to address the shortage of heavy goods vehicle (truck) drivers.

Newspapers reported that the government would allow up up to 5,000 foreign drivers to Great Britain on short-term visa, a measure die logistics companies and retailers have demanded for months but which one government had ruled before out.

The British Road Haulage Association (RHA) says Britain needs 100,000 more drivers if it is to meet demand.

shortages of truck drivers have been caused partly due to Brexit and COVID-19, die put an end to driver training and testing for over An year.

“We are looking at temporary measures to avoid any immediate problems, but all measures die we enter will be very strict in time are limited,” a spokeswoman for Johnson’s Downing Street office said in a statement.

Downing Street declined until give further details.

Ministers have warned: against panic buying, and oil companies say there is no shortage of supplies, only problems delivering the fuel to filling stations.

However, there were long lines of vehicles at gas stations as motorists rushed out to fill up, and some forecourts closed because their supplies ran out out.

The issue came to prominence after BP (BP.L) said it had to close of its outlets as a result of the driver shortages, with Shell (RDSa.L) and ExxonMobil’s (XOM.N) Esso also reporting problems with supplies.

EG Group, die runs 341 gas stations in all of Britain, said: on Friday would impose a purchase boundary of £30 ($41) per customer for fuel because of the “unprecedented customer” demand”.

“I regret what we see in the forecourt,” chairman Huw Merriman of parliament’s transport committee, BBC TV told.

“I was out on my bike … and came past my BP garage and it was chaos. if soon as the message gets out there may be a fuel shortage, people respond understandably.”

one police force said long queues were a potential hazard and blocked roads for emergency vehicles.

Downing Street said the country had “sufficient fuel supplies”.

“The public should rest assured, there are no shortages,” said the spokeswoman like countries around the world we are fighting met a temporary COVID-related shortage of drivers had to move deliveries in the whole country.”

The fuel issue comes as Britain, the worldthe fifth largest economy, also grabs with An spike in European natural gas costs are causing rising energy prices and a possible food crisis.

Other countries in all of Europe and the United States are also intercourse with truck driver shortages, and industry figures have warned that no guarantee that a change in the visa process would be foreign drivers come to Great Britain.

“We’ll have to see of we can attract people for a short period of time,” said Merriman.

Britain says the long-term solution is: for more British drivers being hired, with the RHA says better wages and conditions are needed to attract people the industry in.

But retailers have warned that unless the government measures to tackle the shortage in the next 10 days, significant disruption is inevitable in the run-up to Christmas. read more

($1 = 0.7311 pounds)

Reporting by Michael Holden and Guy Faulconbridge Editing by Frances Kerry and Helen Popper

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Read More: World News

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