Ministers have been accused of dooming Britain to a Winter of Incompetence as panic buying of fuel escalated today amid urgent talks on giving temporary visas to foreign HGV drivers.
The government has been lambasted for failing to see the problems coming as huge queues developed at petrol stations, with fears rationing might even be needed.
Despite desperate assurances from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that there is no shortage of fuel in the country and people should ‘carry on as normal’, queues of cars built up at garages across the country
In the face of the chaos, ministers seem to be on the verge of agreeing to shore up the numbers of HGV drivers by granting temporary visas to EU nationals – something that retailers and industry have been demanding for months but they previously resisted.
Environment Secretary George Eustice is thought to have been pushing for the move along with Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay. Mr Shapps, who has previously been sceptical saying that businesses should pay Britons more to take the jobs rather than rely on cheap labour from abroad, struck a notably softer tone in interviews this morning. Kwasi Kwarteng is also seemingly lowering objections to a time-limited change.
But critics question why it has taken so long to address the problems, as companies have been raising alarm for months about the brewing crisis. The driver shortage has been exacerbated by a huge backlog in HGV tests due to Covid, as well as foreign drivers returning home amid the pandemic and Brexit.
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Source: Daily Mail