The fuel shortage crisis in the UK since last week appears to be easing, albeit slightly. At least that is how it appears from the data of the Gasoline Retailers Association (PRA), according to which 27% of service stations in the country were completely without gas this Thursday, a hopeful level compared to the generalized shortages of the last days, caused by the lack of truck drivers tanker, which then cannot transfer fuel from refineries to gas stations. The Road Haulage Association, which groups those who do road transport, puts the number of drivers needed to meet the current needs of the country at one hundred thousand. To this is added the excessive purchase by the population, overwhelmed with the idea of keeping the tanks of their cars and motorcycles empty, an increase in demand that only made the situation worse. According to the PRA, said demand for gasoline and diesel is still at “unprecedented levels”, so its executive director, Gordon Balmer, urged the population to maintain “their normal shopping habits” and only go to refuel when necessary to ensure ‘fuel for all’. Balmer also denounced that they continue to receive reports of “a high level of verbal and physical abuse” of people who work in service stations, which he described as “unacceptable”.
These statements come after the Executive insists that the situation is improving. “We are in a situation where more fuel is delivered to service stations than is sold, so the crisis is now absolutely under control,” he told Sky News. Simon Clarke, Chief Secretary of the Treasury, who insisted that Brexit has nothing to do with it. However the British Minister of Transport, Grant Shapps, He did acknowledge that “there is no doubt” that Brexit is one of the causes of this crisis, which has caused huge queues at service stations, confrontations between drivers and even persecution of tanker trucks, as denounced by some drivers. “There is no doubt” that Brexit has contributed to the chaos of recent days, admitted Shapps, but insisted that the “main cause” of the shortage is the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced the cancellation of the Heavy vehicle driving tests for new drivers.
The minister also assured that thanks to the independence that the United Kingdom has enjoyed since the signing of its divorce last year with the European Union, the government has been able to take some emergency measures to alleviate the situation. Brexit “has helped us change the rules so that we can screen more drivers more quickly,” he said, adding that the separation thus had an influence, for better and for worse. “Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with toilet paper rolls and other things, once people start looking for a particular item, (the situation) can escalate quickly,” he said, criticizing those who filled plastic bottles with fuel for being a “dangerous” and “extremely useless” practice.
The opposition leader, Labor Keir Starmer, pointed out as the culprit of the crisisPrime Minister Boris Johnson, who demanded better long-term planning to prevent staff shortages from knocking down other productive sectors in the coming months, which are already suffering the consequences of the departure from British territory of thousands of community workers, many of whom are not they will return. In fact, the Confederation of British Industry (CIB), which groups thousands of companies in the UK, has warned that staff shortage could last two years. Starmer denounced that the Executive “is trying to solve a problem” but then “another appears in its place.”
The government, which has already mobilized its own fleet of tanker trucks driven by civilians but announced that in the next few days will also put its military behind the wheelHe is also with an idea at least controversial on the table: that of putting prisoners to drive trucks. So he mentioned Justice Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, in an interview with the magazine ‘The Spectator’: «We have managed to get prisoners and criminals to do unpaid voluntary work. Why not, if there is a shortage, encourage them to do paid work where there is a benefit for the economy, a benefit for society? ”He asked, adding that if these people are offered“ hope ”it is“ less likely to reoffend “