Foreign workers to be let into UK to help solve petrol crisis
The Prime Minister has ordered the move after becoming fed up with 'bad headlines'
Immigration rules are set to be relaxed so that more foreign truck drivers can come to work in the UK, it is being reported.
Temporary visas are set to be offered to European truck drivers in an attempt to fix the shortage of drivers in the UK. There are at least 100,000 vacancies in the haulage industry currently and petrol stations have started closing because of difficulties in transporting fuel.
After Britain's exit from the European Union, new rules meant that lorry drivers do not meet the skills threshold to qualify for work visas in the UK.
According to the Financial Times, Boris Johnson has ordered the change after becoming fed up with "bad headlines."
The thousands of vacancies that need filling have led ministers to drop their opposition to the temporary visa plans.
In particular, Home Secretary Priti Patel had been opposed to the idea of giving temporary visas to foreign HGV drivers, arguing that it would lead to other industries demanding similar measures.
But there are shortages across the continent in the industry, so there is no guarantee that drivers will arrive even if it is made easier for them to enter the UK.
A Downing Street source said that the Prime Minister has issued instructions to fix the growing crisis, with another adding: "Boris is completely fed up with bad headlines on this and wants it sorted and doesn’t care about visa limits any more."
On Thursday (September 23), BP and Esso both announced that they were having to close some of their petrol stations due to chaos at forecourts. Long queues have been reported at some petrol stations as people panic-buy fuel.
Ministers are meeting on Friday afternoon to discuss supply problems at petrol stations across the country.
Speaking to the BBC, transport secretary Grant Shapps promised he would "move heaven and Earth" in order to make sure lorries carry on moving goods across the country.
He denied that Brexit was to blame for the issues though, going as far to say that the UK's split from Europe had meant they were better placed to react to the problems.
He told the Today programme: "Not only are there very large and even larger shortages in other EU countries like Poland and Germany, which clearly can’t be to do with Brexit, but actually because of Brexit I’ve been able to change the law and alter the way our driving tests operate in a way I could not have done if we were still part of the EU.
"So, Brexit actually has provided part of the solution of giving more slots available for HGV (heavy goods vehicle) tests and there are a lot more, twice as many, tests available now than before the pandemic, a large proportion of those we’ve only been able to do because we are no longer in the EU."
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