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Motorists told to ‘carry on as normal’ when buying fuel after BP shuts some petrol stations

Written by on 24 September 2021

The transport secretary has said motorists should “carry on as normal” when it comes to buying fuel, after BP closed some of its petrol stations due to supply issues.

The energy giant said tens of forecourts in its 1,200-strong network were experiencing shortages – blamed on the nationwide lack of HGV drivers – while rival Esso said a few of its sites were affected too.

Tesco said two of the 500 petrol stations it operates were currently affected, describing the impact as minimal and ensuring that supply is replenished whenever this happens.

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Britain needs 150,000 HGV drivers

Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons said they were not affected. Shell was also understood not to be affected.

It is the latest in a series of supply chain issues being grappled with by ministers – after the separate issue of surging gas prices created a crisis in the energy sector and knock-on damage to carbon dioxide production, which has threatened to disrupt food processing.

The shortage of drivers – estimated at more than 100,000 by one industry body has been blamed on a confluence of issues including non-UK workers affected by Brexit, pandemic delays holding up HGV tests, and drivers being caught up in the “pingdemic” of COVID alerts earlier this year.

Speaking to Kay Burley, Grant Shapps said the shortage of drivers should “smooth out fairly quickly” as more HGV driving tests have been made available.

“The problem is not new,” the transport secretary insisted, adding: “There has been a lack of drivers for many months through this pandemic because during the lockdown drivers couldn’t be passed through their lorry HGV tests, and that is what has led to this problem.

“But many more tests are being made available now, so we should see it smooth out fairly quickly.”

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HGV driver shortage ‘a cocktail of chaos’

However, Rod McKenzie from the Road Haulage Association warned: “There’s no early end in sight to this.

“We’ll probably be having to live with the trucker shortage for at least another year or so, even if the government tackles the issue urgently.”

Asked how many forecourts were affected on Friday morning, Mr Shapps replied: “I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to that at 7am in the morning.

“What I can tell you is yesterday, as of last night, five petrol stations on the BP network of 1,200 to 1,300 were affected.

“I’m meeting this morning with Tesco and I’m sure they’ll give me the update for themselves.

“None of the other retailers said that they had any closures.”

One demand from the industry has been for the government to introduce short-term visas to bring drivers over from the continent to address the shortage.

Asked if ministers would consider this, the transport secretary said he would “look at everything” and “move heaven and earth” to address the issue.

Mr Shapps insisted throughout his Sky News interview that the COVID-19 pandemic was the “principle cause” of the driver shortage, something he described as a “global problem”.

Put to him by Burley that it was “disingenuous” to suggest COVID was the only reason for the lack of drivers, he said: “COVID is the main reason. It is a global problem and Europe is hit particularly bad.”

And the transport secretary added: “I’ve seen people point to Brexit as if it’s the culprit here. In fact, they’re wrong.

“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 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.”

A survey in July of 615 drivers by the RHA found that they thought Brexit was the second most important factor behind the driver shortage, with drivers retiring the number one issue identified.

Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds told Sky News that the government’s handling of Brexit was one of the reasons behind the shortage of HGV drivers.

“There are shortages of HGV drivers in other countries,” she acknowledged.

“I have to say, however, that there have been big failures in planning for this situation and the additional red tape that has been created, which was not inevitable, it was not an inevitable result of Brexit in many cases, but that hasn’t been tackled by government.

“I talk to advanced manufacturers in my patch for example, and they tell me that now they have got to fill in dozens of pages of paperwork and that is quite a tall order for a HGV driver if they have got to be dealing with all of that, as well as getting goods from one place to another.

“So undoubtedly the government’s method of implementing Brexit has had an impact overall on the system, but there are other factors that are in play here.”

Meanwhile, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has claimed that Boris Johnson asked him for an “emergency” agreement to supply a food product that is lacking in Britain during their talks in New York earlier this week.

Mr Bolsonaro did not name the product, but said he had passed on the prime minister’s request to his agriculture minister.

But the British Embassy in Brazil disputed the president’s account, saying that was not its recollection of the facts of the meeting.

Source


Motorists told to ‘carry on as normal’ when buying fuel after BP shuts some petrol stations

Written by on 24 September 2021

The transport secretary has said motorists should “carry on as normal” when it comes to buying fuel, after BP closed some of its petrol stations due to supply issues.

The energy giant said tens of forecourts in its 1,200-strong network were experiencing shortages – blamed on the nationwide lack of HGV drivers – while rival Esso said a few of its sites were affected too.

Tesco said two of the 500 petrol stations it operates were currently affected, describing the impact as minimal and ensuring that supply is replenished whenever this happens.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Britain needs 150,000 HGV drivers

Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons said they were not affected. Shell was also understood not to be affected.

It is the latest in a series of supply chain issues being grappled with by ministers – after the separate issue of surging gas prices created a crisis in the energy sector and knock-on damage to carbon dioxide production, which has threatened to disrupt food processing.

The shortage of drivers – estimated at more than 100,000 by one industry body has been blamed on a confluence of issues including non-UK workers affected by Brexit, pandemic delays holding up HGV tests, and drivers being caught up in the “pingdemic” of COVID alerts earlier this year.

Speaking to Kay Burley, Grant Shapps said the shortage of drivers should “smooth out fairly quickly” as more HGV driving tests have been made available.

“The problem is not new,” the transport secretary insisted, adding: “There has been a lack of drivers for many months through this pandemic because during the lockdown drivers couldn’t be passed through their lorry HGV tests, and that is what has led to this problem.

“But many more tests are being made available now, so we should see it smooth out fairly quickly.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

HGV driver shortage ‘a cocktail of chaos’

However, Rod McKenzie from the Road Haulage Association warned: “There’s no early end in sight to this.

“We’ll probably be having to live with the trucker shortage for at least another year or so, even if the government tackles the issue urgently.”

Asked how many forecourts were affected on Friday morning, Mr Shapps replied: “I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to that at 7am in the morning.

“What I can tell you is yesterday, as of last night, five petrol stations on the BP network of 1,200 to 1,300 were affected.

“I’m meeting this morning with Tesco and I’m sure they’ll give me the update for themselves.

“None of the other retailers said that they had any closures.”

One demand from the industry has been for the government to introduce short-term visas to bring drivers over from the continent to address the shortage.

Asked if ministers would consider this, the transport secretary said he would “look at everything” and “move heaven and earth” to address the issue.

Mr Shapps insisted throughout his Sky News interview that the COVID-19 pandemic was the “principle cause” of the driver shortage, something he described as a “global problem”.

Put to him by Burley that it was “disingenuous” to suggest COVID was the only reason for the lack of drivers, he said: “COVID is the main reason. It is a global problem and Europe is hit particularly bad.”

And the transport secretary added: “I’ve seen people point to Brexit as if it’s the culprit here. In fact, they’re wrong.

“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 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.”

A survey in July of 615 drivers by the RHA found that they thought Brexit was the second most important factor behind the driver shortage, with drivers retiring the number one issue identified.

Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds told Sky News that the government’s handling of Brexit was one of the reasons behind the shortage of HGV drivers.

“There are shortages of HGV drivers in other countries,” she acknowledged.

“I have to say, however, that there have been big failures in planning for this situation and the additional red tape that has been created, which was not inevitable, it was not an inevitable result of Brexit in many cases, but that hasn’t been tackled by government.

“I talk to advanced manufacturers in my patch for example, and they tell me that now they have got to fill in dozens of pages of paperwork and that is quite a tall order for a HGV driver if they have got to be dealing with all of that, as well as getting goods from one place to another.

“So undoubtedly the government’s method of implementing Brexit has had an impact overall on the system, but there are other factors that are in play here.”

Meanwhile, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has claimed that Boris Johnson asked him for an “emergency” agreement to supply a food product that is lacking in Britain during their talks in New York earlier this week.

Mr Bolsonaro did not name the product, but said he had passed on the prime minister’s request to his agriculture minister.

But the British Embassy in Brazil disputed the president’s account, saying that was not its recollection of the facts of the meeting.

Source