Only 127 truck drivers from the European Union have applied for temporary visas to work in the United Kingdom after the government’s appeal, according to the British Prime Minister on Tuesday. Boris Johnson has announced the data after the newspaper The Times published that only 27 community workers had applied for employment permits.
Gas, food and butchers shortages: the perfect Brexit storm breaks out in the UK
The objective of the British Government was to get 300 tanker truck drivers to alleviate the shortages at the gas stations. In an interview with the BBC, Johnson said this was a “fascinating illustration of the problem” of the carrier shortage. He added that it is a “global” issue but that in the United Kingdom it is a “particular problem”. Johnson has ruled out that the problem is related to Brexit, but that it is a “problem of the supply chain linked to the recovery.”
According to The Times, the lack of applications has annoyed the government, which two weeks ago accepted a request from the oil companies to speed up the processing of temporary visas. This Sunday, the Executive ad that the urgent plan to issue 300 permits to tanker truck drivers was extended until March 31, 2022. The other 4,700 temporary visas for food transporters, scheduled until Christmas, will also be extended until the end of February.
Meanwhile, this Monday, about 200 British Army soldiers have begun to transport fuel to the gas stations in the United Kingdom, to alleviate the lack of carriers.
“Big turn” for the economy
The Johnson government has said that temporary visas are not a long-term solution and has urged companies to invest in British labor.
“What we can’t do is go back to the old, failed model where the main line of employment is low-skilled, low-wage labor, often very hard working, wonderful and brave people, who come and work in conditions that are very tough, and we shouldn’t go back to that, “Johnson said.
According to the prime minister, this led to a situation in which the different economic sectors no longer invested in services or training and people like transporters “had to urinate in bushes for lack of appropriate facilities.” Johnson has said that working in the trucking industry “should be a great job,” but added that not enough had been invested in facilities and pay conditions.
“The time has come to invest in people and skills. This is a huge turnaround for the British economy,” said the prime minister.