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The British government on Friday sought to reassure its citizens about the problems with refueling at stations and its effects on daily life as a result of a shortage of truck drivers.
Images of closed fuel pumps and queues of goods for fear of running out of petrol are a shocking example of the Covid-19 epidemic and the distribution problems Britain is experiencing as it exits the European Union.
A BP spokesman said: “We are experiencing fuel supply problems at some UK retail outlets and unfortunately we have seen a few places that are not temporarily closed.
“We prioritize highways, major roads and frequently used areas and try to reduce the time that stocks are out of stock,” he added.
According to a source close to the group, the number of gas stations affected by the shortage has reached a few dozen.
Transport Minister Grant Shops told “Sky News” that “five stations” of the approximately 1,200 service stations operated by “PP” were closed on Thursday, insisting that “no other retailer” was closed.
For its part, ExxonMobil, the US company that owns Eso stations, announced on Thursday that a “limited number” of 200 stations in Tesco stores were affected by the problem.
Faced with fears of a petrol shortage, Grand Shops called on motorists to “behave as usual” and not make big panic purchases in order not to aggravate the situation.
In the Shepherds bush in west London, motorists who came to pick up fuel were found at the BP station.
Among them, Shane Kennelly, 38, who contributed to the Brexit problem, said: “Since Britain’s exit from the European Union, there has been a shortage of workers in all sectors. We should have thought about it, but this government did not expect it.”
– Shortage of 100,000 drivers
The Road Transport Association (RHA) estimates that the UK needs about 100,000 extra truck drivers, a shortage that has led to supply problems in recent weeks, including in supermarkets.
Grand Shops said the epidemic, which has closed driver training centers for months, was the “main cause” of driver shortages, not just in the UK.
In addition, “long-term problems” are added, he said, stressing that driving trucks is “hard work and its financial revenue is still weak”.
He urged the transport minister to attract more drivers, raise wages and improve working conditions in the sector.
The epidemic prompted many foreign truck drivers to return to their home countries. Britain’s exit from the EU has been complicated by the arrival of new drivers from the EU due to immigration procedures that have become more complex.
But Shopes said it was “wrong” for people to call the origin of the problem Brexit, and that “Brexit has already provided part of the solution from the EU.”
“Thanks to Brexit, I was able to change the law and change the way driving tests are conducted. I would not have done it if we were still part of the European Union,” he added.
Last month, the government announced a rule change to speed up training for truck drivers.
In turn, the Petroleum Industries Association (UKPIA) sought to assure the British that the fuel supply chain was flexible and that the fuel was now reaching the majority of consumers.
But Labor MP David Lamy warned the government that it would face a “winter of discontent” with a shortage of workers and supplies.
21 2021 AFP
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