Fuel shortages in the UK over the weekend were exacerbated by “panic buying”, leading the government to consider using the army to alleviate a truck driver shortage – according to local newspaper reports.
Over the weekend, long queues were recorded at various gas stations, mainly in major cities and in the capital, London.
On Monday (27), nearly 30% of BP group stations were affected by fuel shortages.
“One of our members received a shipment in the middle of the day, and by the end of the afternoon it was completely gone,” Brian Maderson, president of the nation’s gas station association, Brian Maderson, told BBC Newsroom.
The Sun cites the example of a nurse who had to go through three gas stations and waited a long time.
“Now I will be late to visit patients who need my help with their meals and medicines,” the health expert told the newspaper, without holding back her tears.
The soaring demand for gasoline prompted the People’s Republic of China to warn that up to two-thirds of its members, nearly 5,500 independent gas stations out of the country’s 8,000, had little fuel on Sunday. The others were “semi-naked”.
In recent days, despite government attempts to reassure residents, many citizens rushed to gas stations. And when they noticed the scarcity of some foods in the markets, they feared the lack of fuel.
The situation is reminiscent of the 1970s, when the energy crisis led to fuel rationing and a three-day working week. Nearly 10 years ago, protests over high gasoline prices have laid siege to refineries and paralyzed activities in the country for weeks.
The scarcity is mainly due to the lack of drivers. This situation led the British government to change, on Saturday (25), its post-Brexit immigration policy and grant up to 10,500 temporary work visas for a period of three months.
The permits are expected to ease a shortage of truck drivers and professionals in important sectors of the British economy, such as poultry.
The Minister of Business and Energy, Kwasi Quarting, announced in a statement issued, Sunday (26th), the temporary exemption for the distribution companies sector. fuel Competition rules, so that they can provide the areas most in need as a priority.
In an interview with Sky News, Maderson attributed the panic move to “a classified BP report being leaked during a government meeting.” He added that the document was issued on Wednesday (22) and was accompanied by “panic purchases on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and yesterday.”
In addition, according to the British press, the government is considering using the army in the short term to meet the shortage.
When asked if the measure would improve the situation, Maderson responded cautiously.
“It is not as easy as you think, because truck drivers are very specialized and tanker trucks transport highly flammable liquid around the country,” which, he says, requires adequate loading and unloading procedures.
Maderson noted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have not been able to obtain a truck driver’s license and that the shortage of truck drivers is affecting continental Europe.
The president of the People’s Republic of China said he hoped, however, that the problem would be resolved, at least in part, “by the end of the week”.
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