Great Britain

Petrol crisis: Boris poised to relax immigration rules to combat HGV driver shortage

The Prime Minister has reportedly authorised a temporary visa scheme covering up to 10,000 foreign workers to solve Britain's HGV driver drought. The decision comes amid chaotic scenes at petrol stations and bare shelves in supermarkets due to the lack of drivers. A Downing Street spokesperson has refused to rule out relaxing immigration rules as a solution to the problem.

The Number 10 spokesperson said: "We have ample fuel stocks in this country and the public should be reassured there are no shortages.

"But like countries around the world we are suffering from a temporary Covid-related shortage of drivers needed to move supplies around the country.

"We're looking at temporary measures to avoid any immediate problems, but any measures we introduce will be very strictly time-limited.

"We are moving to a high-wage, high-skilled economy and businesses will need to adapt with more investment in recruitment and training to provide long-term resilience."

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Priti Patel sides with Boris on temporary visas

Home secretary Priti Patel had been the strongest opponent of giving out temporary visas to foreign HGV drivers.

She argued it would lead to a stampede of different industries demanding similar preferential treatment.

She has since sided with transport secretary Grant Shapps to support the plan, according to the Financial Times. 

Priti Patel sides with Boris on temporary visas

Priti Patel sides with Boris on temporary visas (Image: GETTY)

'HGV drivers are the glue which hold our supply chains together'

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: "HGV drivers are the glue which hold our supply chains together.

"Without them, we are unable to move goods from farms to warehouses to shops.

"Currently, the UK faces a shortfall of around 90,000 HGV drivers and it is consumers who ultimately suffer the consequences.

"Unless a solution can be found in the next 10 days, it is inevitable that we will see significant disruption in the run-up to Christmas."

'There is no fuel shortage!' says minister

Secretaty of State Nadine Dorries has taken to Twitter to insist "there is no fuel shortage". 

Thousands of people queued to refill their tanks today after fuel companies announced there wasa a supply chain issue as a result of a lack of HGV drivers. 

Ms Dorries said: "There is no fuel shortage. I repeat, THERE IS NO FUEL SHORTAGE!!"

Shapps promises to 'move heaven and earth' to fix supply issues

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has vowed to "move heaven and earth" to ensure lorries can continue to move goods and petrol around the country. 

Speaking on the BBC's Today programme, he said: "I'll move heaven and earth to do anything that's required to make sure that lorries carry on moving our goods and services and petrol around the country," he said.

Temporary visas are the only way, says industry expert

Temporary visas are the only way to alleviate mass disruption and shortages, an industry expert has said. 

Tony Danker, CBI director-general, said: "After speaking with hundreds of business leaders this week, it's clear there's a total mindset shift from growing to coping.

"This is now a major threat to our recovery and the Government needs to step up its response to a new level of both speed and boldness.

"Government is right to keep up the pressure on companies to adapt and not rely on immigration long term, but temporary visas are the only way to alleviate the disruption of shortages in critical skilled parts of the economy in weeks and months instead of years.

"Getting skills programmes right immediately is key to ensuring that these measures are only needed temporarily."

Brexit is not to blame for the HGV crisis, says Grant Shapps

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has denied accusations that Brexit is to blame for the current HGV crisis. 

Mr Shapps said: "I've seen people point to Brexit as if it is the culprit here but in fact they are wrong. 

"Not only are there very large and even larger shortages in other EU countries including Poland and Germany, which clearly can't be to do with Brexit, but actually because of Brexit I have been able to change the law and alter the way that our driving tests operate in a way that I could not have done if we were still part of the EU."

The Transport Secretary went on to say that Brexit has allowed twice as many HGV tests to be run in the UK which is part of the solution, rather than the problem. 

Stop panic buying! pleads Tory MP

Paul Holmes, the Conservative MP for Eastleigh, has asked people in his constituency to stop panic buying at petrol stations. 

The request comes as hundreds raced to fill up on fuel amid supply issues. 

The Government has stressed the problem is a shortage of HGV drivers rather than a shortage of fuel. 

Mr Holmes said: "There are reports of panic buying at Petrol stations across the patch, please don't.

"Supply lines are good and deliveries are happening.

"If you panic buy you are causing a problem, and panic buying is not the solution."

£30 limit on petrol as hundreds panic buy

The EG Group, which operates 389 petrol stations in the UK, has imposed a £30 limit on purchases of fuel due to "unprecedented customer demand".

However, this limit does not apply to HGV drivers or emergency services "due to their vital role at this time".

In a statement, the group said: "This is a company decision to ensure all our customers have a fair chance to refuel and to enable our sites to carry on running smoothly. 

"We kindly ask everyone visiting our sites to treat our colleagues, supply chain partners and customers with respect during these very challenging times.

"All of EG Group's UK sites remain open and operational to serve customers."

Coal, oil and gas prices rocket as supply tumbles

The worldwide energy shortage is manifesting in record gas and electricity prices in Europe. 

Record coal prices have also been recorded in China and the highest gas prices in years for the United States. 

Part of the problem is that production has failed to bounce back as quickly as demand in the aftermath of the pandemic. 

As a result, below-average inventories of gas and oil have been recorded in all the major consuming regions of the world. 

In the gas market, inventories are five percent below the pre-pandemic seasonal average in the US and 15 percent below average in Europe.

Front-month gas futures prices have risen 140 percent in the US, more than 500 percent in Europe, and more than 600 percent in Northeast Asia, compared with the same time last year.

Fuel prices spike as panic buying continues

Motorists have claimed fuel prices have jumped as much as 20p per litre as queues gathered outside petrol stations today.

It is understood that prices have averaged around 135.6p per litre for unleaded and 137.8p per litre for diesel this week.

However, one driver told LBC: "There is a petrol station which I sat by for thirty minutes trying to get round the roundabout and I watched the price change from 131p to 151p per litre."

West Yorkshire hit with monster queues amid panic buying

Large queues have been spotted around West Yorkshire today.

The report comes as people flock to social media to share their experiences of massive queues up and down the country. 

'Every station in Newcastle has lengthy queues'

Twitter user Kath Anderson has reported seeing lengthy queues across Newcastle today amid a wave of panic buying. 

What happens if your energy supplier goes bust?

If your supplier fails, the UK's independent energy regulator Ofgem will make sure your gas and electricity supply continues uninterrupted.

Customers will be switched to a "supplier of last resort" and any credit with the old supplier will be moved over to the new one.

A special administrator will be appointed by Ofgem and the government if a supplier of last resort is not possible. 

Your old tariff will end and the new supplier will put you on a special "deemed" contract, which could cost you more but will only last for as long as you want it to.

The reason it could cost more is because the new supplier is taking on more risk (for example, possibly having to buy extra wholesale energy at short notice to supply to the new customers).

You should take meter readings as you will need to pass these on to your new supplier.

Once your new supplier has been in touch, ask them to put you on their cheapest deal.

You will not be charged exit fees.

Shell stations run out of fuel

A number of Shell gas stations are thought to have run out of fuel after a wave of panic buying. 

Before the reports of empty petrol stations, a spokesperson for Shell said: "We are seeing an increased demand today for fuel at some of our stations, which may in some instances result in larger queues.

"We are adapting our delivery schedules to ensure sufficient supplies for our customers."

One in six unable to buy essential food amid supply issues

One in six adults in the UK were not able to buy essential food items at some point during the past two weeks due to products not being available, according to a survey by the Office for National Statistics. 

While 61 percent of shoppers said everything they needed was available to buy, 18 percent said they had not been able to find essential foods.

And 25 percent reported they were unable to buy other non-essential food items. 

A lower amount, four percent, said they had not been able to buy medicine or fuel.

One in six unable to buy essential food amid supply issues

One in six unable to buy essential food amid supply issues (Image: GETTY)

Whitechapel in gridlock as dozens flock to petrol station

Whitechapel in east London has been brought to a standstill as people attempt to refill on fuel. 

Buses have been unable to get through amid the chaos, according to Daniel Binns.

10 days to save Christmas warns retail boss

A retail boss has warned the Government only has ten days to solve the HGV driver shortage before Christmas is ruined. 

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: "HGV drivers are the glue which hold our supply chains together.

"Without them, we are unable to move goods from farms to warehouses to shops.

"Currently, the UK faces a shortfall of around 90,000 HGV drivers and it is consumers who ultimately suffer the consequences.

"Unless a solution can be found in the next 10 days, it is inevitable that we will see significant disruption in the run-up to Christmas."

Taxis ask to be prioritised amid petrol chaos

The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) has asked the Government to confirm taxis will remain on the emergency fuel register amid mass panic buying. 

Hundreds of people up and down the country have flooded to petrol stations in a desperate attempt to stock up on fuel. 

The LTDA said: "As we start to receive more and more reports of petrol stations running dry we have contacted City Hall to request confirmation that taxis (as an essential service) remain on the emergency fuel supply register from September 2000."

100 petrol stations hit by shortages, says BP

BP has revealed up to 100 petrol stations have been affected by the current supply chain issues. 

Around 20 of its 1,200 sites are also currently closed as a result of a lack of HGV drivers. 

100 petrol stations hit by shortages, says BP

100 petrol stations hit by shortages, says BP (Image: GETTY)

'Idiots!' Twitter user rages at panic buyers causing problems

Twitter user Dom Graham has raged at "morons" panic buying, who he says are going to "cause a problem where one didn't exist". 

He said: "All of the idiots queuing up outside the petrol stations near me, they all require a strong poke in the eye for being panic buying morons. Stop it.

"It's this sort of idiotic groupthink that's going to cause a problem where one didn't exist."

Fights breaking out over petrol as swarms panic buy

A fight has reportedly broken out at a petrol station as hundreds of people up and down the country rush to panic buy. 

Rising gas prices and a HGV driver shortage has sparked panic causing many people to rush to petrol stations to stock up on supplies. 

People 'panic buying' petrol is making it harder for delivery drivers

Simon Ward, a delivery driver, has said people 'panic buying' petrol is making it more difficult people working in industries such as his own. 

Speaking at the BP garage in Plymouth this morning, he said: "From an industry point of view I think it's really difficult for us as drivers and other people, to try and get the fuel when a lot of people are panic-buying for no good reason.

"I just hope people see their sense."

Norfolk police warn drivers not to queue as clear highways essential for emergency responders

Norfolk police have issued a warning, urging drivers not to join long queues to panic buy petrol as this could block the roads and lead to emergency responders being unable to carry out their duties effectively. 

BP says it is prioritising deliveries to sites with biggest demand

BP has said it is prioritising deliveries to sites with the biggest demand and is aiming minimise the amount of time that petrol stations remain empty. 

In a statement, BP said:  "We are experiencing some fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK and unfortunately have therefore seen some sites temporarily close due to a lack of both unleaded and diesel grades.

"We continue to work with our haulier supplier to minimise any future disruption and to ensure efficient and effective deliveries to serve our customers.

 "We are prioritising deliveries to sites with largest demand and seeking to minimise the duration of stock outs."

10 days to save Christmas says retail sector

Andrew Opie, director of food & sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, the retail industry's lobby group has warned that if new lorry drivers are not found in the next 10 days, major disruption in the run up to Christimas is inevitable. 

"HGV drivers are the glue which hold our supply chains together. Without them, we are unable to move goods from farms to warehouses to shops," he said.  

Scientific advisor says talk of panic buying distracts from real problem of Government failure

Professor Stephen Reicher has argued that talk of panic buying is a way to blame the Government's failures on the public. 

He argues that shoppers are acting rationally by panic buying in repsonse to reading about others doing the same. 

Newsnight policy editor says 'crisis of confidence' developing throughout British economy

Newsnight policy editor Lewis Goodall has suggested that petrol shortages, food shortages and rising energy prices have created a 'crisis of confidence' throughout the British economy. 

Petrol queues cause bus service delays

Bus company First has reported delays to its Norwich services, caused by the long queues at petrol stations. 

Lorry driving not an 'attractive' industry for young people, says transport boss

Transport manager for Norfolk-based firm W's Transport, Helena Wright told the BBC that her firm is struggling to recruit lorry drivers as the younger generation are not prepared to be away from home 4 nights a week and put up with 'inhumane' conditions. 

She added that her company had had to sell two lorries after they advertised for drivers and got zero applicants for the job. 

"I've got a lot of drivers that are over the age of 50, 55 and looking to retire and we are not attractive as an industry for the younger generation," she said. 

Ministers to meet this afternoon for urgent talks on lorry crisis

Ministers will meet this afternoon for urgent talks on how to solve the issue of the shortage of lorry drivers.

They will discuss whether to relax immigration laws to bring in HGV drivers from overseas. 

Drivers are continuing to queue outside petrol stations

More pictures of drivers queueing outside petrol stations. 

The Government has urged members of the public not to panic buy. 

(Image: )

RAC spokesperson says supply issues should not affect fuel prices

A spokesperson for the RAC has said fuel prices should not be affected by any shortages of supply. 

“The supply issues affecting a small number of petrol forecourts shouldn’t impact the prices drivers pay to fill up," he said. 

“But unfortunately the price of oil, which has the biggest influence on what drivers pay the pumps, is continuing to rise at the moment.

“This may lead to fuel prices going up in the coming days which would be yet more bad news for drivers as a litre of unleaded is already over 21p a litre more expensive than a year ago.”

Local reporter suggests Shapps cancelled meeting due to petrol station queues

A reporter for Herts Live has suggested that the meeting he was supposed to have this morning with Grant Shapps was cancelled last minute due to panic buyers queueing outside petrol stations. 

Just 1 percent of petrol stations currently closed

It is reported that only 1 percent of the UKs petrol stations are currently closed. 

Despite this, large queues are occuring at petrol stations throughout the UK, as drivers fear further shortages. 

Just 1 percent of petrol stations currently closed

Just 1 percent of petrol stations currently closed (Image: Stephen Lock)

LTDA contacts City Hall to confirm taxis still on emergency fuel register

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA ) has contacted London's city hall to ask them whether taxis remain on the emergency fuel supply regsiter amid reports of petrol stations running out of fuel. 

More pictures of petrol station queues

More pictures of queues outside petrol stations as drivers fear fuel shortages. 

More pictures of petrol station queues

More pictures of petrol station queues (Image: Humphrey Nemar)

Petrol station worker blames public for queues

A petrol station worker has taken to Twitter to blame drivers for panic buying, thus adding to shortages. 

The worker added that drivers should be not rude to staff who are doing their best to serve the public. 

Bolsonaro says Boris asked Brazil for 'emergency' agreement

The President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro has said that when he met Boris at the UN General Assembly in New York, Mr Johnson asked him for an 'emergency' agreement to supply a food product that is currently scarce in the UK. 

The British Embassy have disputed this claim. 

Bolsonaro says Boris asked Brazil for

Bolsonaro says Boris asked Brazil for "emergency" agreement (Image: Getty )

Boris insists there will be no return to 1970s

The Prime Minister has insisted there will be no return to the 1970s, when energy shortages, rampant inflation and 3 day weeks caused Britain to be dubbed the 'sick man of Europe'. 

Boris insists there will be no return to 1970s

Boris insists there will be no return to 1970s (Image: Getty )

Large petrol station queues across the UK

Drivers queueing outside Sainsubury's for petrol in Tonbridge, Kent, after other nearby petrol stations run out of fuel. 

Large petrol station queues across the UK

Large petrol station queues across the UK (Image: Stephen Lock / i-Images)

Labour MP says Government have failed the haulage industry by not valuing working class jobs

Labour MP Jim Mchanon says the tories failed the haulage industry by not valuing working class jobs. 

Unite the Union say Shapps' claims are 'complete rubbish'

Unite the Union has said that the Transport Secretary's claims that Brexit is part of the solution to the lorry driver problem is 'complete rubbish'. 

A spokesperson for the trade union, Barckley Sumner said: "Brexit has meant the crisis brewing has been brought forward and it has hit much, much harder.

"To say that Brexit is part of the solution makes no sense.

"The only solution is to make lorry driving a more attractive profession. When you have people driving for 10 hours a day, they are away from home for up to 15 hours, we've got thousands of drivers leaving the profession, the number of people not allowed to drive because of medical conditions has doubled in a decade.

“We need minimum standards of welfare and conditions. The supermarkets have driven this situation by driving down pay and conditions. Now they want temporary visas so they can have a return to cheap labour.”

Alistair Campbell criticises the Governments' handling of the crisis

Political strategist Alistair Campbell has criticised the Government for their handling of the current fuel crisis. 

In a sarcastic tweet he said he believes everything the Government say because of their record of 'truth' and 'consistency'. 

Situation likened to fuel blockade of September 2000

Former downing street advisor Damian Mcbride has likened the current situation the the fuel blockade of September 2000. 

However, he says this will be a 'tougher challenge' for the Government. 

Reports of panic buying at UK petrol stations

Members of the public are reporting panic buying at their local petrol stations, amid fuel shortages. 

Shapps denies Brexit is cause of lorry driver shortage

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has deneid that the recent shortage of HGV drivers is due to the UKs exit from the European Union, arguing that Brexit has actually helped the Government to react to the crisis.

"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," he told the BBC. 

"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."

'Carry on as normal' says Shapps

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has urged drivers to 'carry on as normal'. after BP was forced to close a small number of petrol forecourts yesterday due to a lack of fuel. 

Speaking to Sky News he said: "The advice would be to carry on as normal, and that is what BP is saying as well."

According to Shapps, as of last night, only 5 of BPs 12,00 petrol stations were closed. 

A small number of tesco petrol stations have also reportedly had to close. 

Reverse Brexit to stop shortages say pro-EU campaigners

Pro-European campaigners are arguing that Brits did not vote for food shortages and rising energy prices in the 2016 referendum and that Brexit must be reversed to stop this. 

May be too late to save Christmas, says RHA

The RHS has said that any relaxation of immigration rules to allow more HGV drivers into the country may be too late to save christmas as the retail industry starts preparing for the holiday in September and any change in visa rules would take time to come into force. 

Trucking industry needs better pay and conditions to attract workers says RHA head

The head of Policy the Road Haluage Association (RHA) has said that the haulage industry needs better conditions and higher pay in order to attract more workers. 

Speaking to Reuters, he said: "We the British do not help truckers in the way that Europeans and Americans do by giving them decent facilities."

Shapps says Government will 'move heaven and earth' to solve HGV crisis

Transport secetary Grant Shapps told Sky news that the Government will 'move heaven and earth' to make sure that the HGV driver shortage crisis is solved, and would not rule out relaxing immigration laws to attract drivers from overseas. 

100,000 more lorry drivers are needed, according to the haulage industry, after 25,000 drivers left after Brexit and the pandemic halted the qualification process for new workers in Britain. 

Shapps says Government will 'move heaven and earth' to solve HGV crisis

Shapps says Government will 'move heaven and earth' to solve HGV crisis (Image: Shapps says Government will 'move heaven and earth' to solve HGV crisis)

Head of BP tells Government situation is 'very bad'

Hana Hofer, BPs head of UK retail told the Cabinet last thursday that the petrol crisis was 'very bad'. 

She added that it was very important that the Government understood the 'urgency of the situation'. 

(Image: )

Motorists and shoppers urged not to panic buy

Motorists and shoppers have been urged not to panic buy food and fuel. 

The warning came from small Business Minister Paul Scully, who told the Radio Times; “there is no need for people to go out and panic buy".

Read the full article here: 

Avro energy and Green latest energy companies to go bust

Avro energy and green are the latest energy companies to go bust, amid rising energy prices.

They both ceased trading on the 22nd of September, leaving more than 800,000 customers in limbo. 

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