UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps on Sunday accused a body representing the road industry of ‘triggering’ fuel shortages in the UK, shortly after the government’s decision to grant 5,000 visas to foreign drivers to address the crisis .
“One of the organizations representing the carriers gave an irresponsible briefing [à propos de potentielles pénuries] which helped trigger the crisis, “the minister said on Sky News on Sunday, denouncing a” fabricated situation “by a” very unnecessary “and” counterproductive “gesture.
A shortage of drivers known for a long time
In recent days, several gas stations have closed and huge queues are forming in front of other petrol pumps, where Britons ignoring calls for calm from the government are stocking up on fuel.
In question: the shortages, which also affect the agri-food sector, caused by a lack of 100,000 truck drivers since Brexit and the pandemic. A situation against which many sectors have been warning for several months, but for which the Minister of Transport has assigned responsibility to an organization representing carriers.
An association pointed out
“There was a meeting about ten days ago where one of the carrier associations decided to release details to the media,” he detailed, “and that created a pretty great degree worry, because people naturally react to this kind of thing ”.
The minister did not name the body, but a government source told the Mail on Sunday that the Road Haulage Association was “fully responsible for this panic and chaos”. Grant Shapps accused the sector associations of “wanting at all costs” to hire “more European drivers, [qui] lower British wages ”.
The day before, the government had been forced by the crisis to grant up to 10,500 temporary work visas, of which 5,000 were reserved for drivers: an unexpected turn in matters of professional immigration after Brexit, while the government of the First Minister Boris Johnson keeps insisting that the UK no longer depends on foreign labor.
The minister preferred to focus on other exceptional measures taken on Saturday, such as the mobilization of examiners from the Ministry of Defense to pass thousands of heavy vehicle licenses in the coming weeks.
Rod McKenzie of the Road Haulage Association called the “baseless” accusations that he warned the media of potential shortages “absurd”, saying the government should instead take a “holistic” approach to the crisis.