Only 27 European fuel tanker drivers have applied for visas to work in the UK. The government introduced the temporary visas plan to mitigate the petrol crisis and its cause: HGV driver shortages.
The original scheme included 300 temporary visas, yet the number of applications has not met expectations.
According to The Times, the failure to identify more drivers has infuriated Downing Street after it agreed to the demand by oil companies to fast-track applications.
Moreover, the plans originally covered more visas for 4,700 food haulage drivers and 5,500 poultry workers. The applications for these positions are starting later this month. But the 2-digits fuel tanker driver applications makes these number seem a bit ambitious.
Rod McKenzie, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, said: “People don’t want to come unless it is a really attractive alternative. You don’t give up a well-paid job for a better-paid job if it will only last a few months.”
What happens now?
One source told The Times that the failure to recruit more drivers was likely to lead to further delays in restocking service stations and might force the government to rely on army assistance for longer.
The military began making deliveries to petrol stations Monday morning. The supplies in the capital and home counties may not be back to normal until next week. But the situation began to return to normal in the rest of the country.
About one in five petrol stations in London and the southeast were out of fuel Monday.
The initial request for armed forces help was for 31 days but government would continue the discussion with the industry over what would happen next, the PM spokesman said.