London, Sep 30 (EFE).- The United Kingdom’s government is appealing to former truck drivers to get behind the wheel again to help tackle the fuel shortage at gas stations across the country without having to rely on recruiting foreign workers.
Chief secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke told BBC Radio 4 Thursday that a campaign was underway to fill the shortage in Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers with UK workers.
The UK’s current driver shortage of around 100,000 workers has contributed to the supply shortages in the country’s grocery stores and its fuel pumps but Clarke insisted that Brexit was not the cause.
He added that the government would offer 5,000 temporary work visas for European drivers to help cover the shortage.
“The difficulties we are facing are not unique to this country. The idea that this is somehow just a British problem is fundamentally wrong. There’s a shortage of 400,000 HGV drivers across Europe,” he said.
Dominic Raab, the UK’s former foreign minister, now justice minister, suggested that “low-level” offenders be recruited to alleviate the labor shortage, according to local media.
UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng on Wednesday confirmed that the Army would in the coming days step in to help transport fuel to gas stations. Some 27% were currently dry, compared to 60% last week.
The deal will see some 150 qualified military drivers step in to help transport fuel with others on standby.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has insisted that the situation at British gas stations was stabilizing while big companies like Shell, Esso and BP offered assurances that refineries were not running low on fuel.
These reassurances have done little to appease those most affected by the shortages and scenes of panic buying, such as health workers, teachers and taxi drivers.EFE