Fuel Crisis: Government’s Inability to Control the outcome of Brexit

The severe shortage of truck drivers has led to fuel crisis in the UK, the influx of people into petrol stations and the depletion of pump reserves. After Brexit, Conservative immigrant visa policies have made it difficult to establish a migrant workforce in the UK. Petrol prices have also risen to their highest level in eight years. The country is currently suffering from a severe shortage of truck drivers, and several companies have closed a number of their petrol stations as a result.

The British Army to Help Solve the Fuel Shortage Crisis

Following the escalation of the fuel crisis in the UK, the minister of commerce announced the government’s plan to mobilise the army to help resolve the crisis. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the move to place the army on standby was a “sensible, precautionary step” and if troops had to be deployed, they would temporarily “provide the supply chain with additional capacity” to ease the pressure caused by increased fuel demand. A limited number of military tankers are on standby.

The UK government has said that due to the crisis in the fuel supply chain and the closure of some petrol stations due to a shortage of truck drivers, the military can take action to address the issue. The UK government announced that the troops can intervene in an emergency to refuel petrol stations.

“If it can actually help, we will bring them in”, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in an interview with the BBC.

Lack of Petrol and Diesel Is Due to a Lack of Truck Drivers

According to the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), up to 90% of petrol stations are dry due to high demand in some parts of the country. The reason for this shortage of diesel and petrol is the shortage of truck drivers, which has hindered the supply chain from fuel companies to distribution stations. It is estimated that there is currently a shortage of about 100,000 truck drivers in the country. Many European truck drivers returned home after Brexit, and it is estimated that more than 20,000 skilled workers from Eastern Europe have also left the UK. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has prevented training and tests for new drivers. Numerous driving courses and tests have been postponed.

Shutdown of Petrol Stations and Its Threats

Several petrol stations were closed in different parts of the country. Doctors have warned that they will soon be out of work due to fuel shortages. The government is currently considering some arrangements, including temporary visas for foreign truck drivers and some other exceptions, to take the pressure off. The military is ready to step in too. But none of this will help much to improve the situation.

The Reason for the Fuel Crisis in the UK

The centre-left politician in position to replace Angela Merkel as German chancellor has pinpointed the decision to end the freedom of movement with Europe after Brexit as the reason for Britain’s petrol crisis. Olaf Scholz, who is seeking to form a coalition government after the SPD emerged as the biggest party in Germany’s federal elections, said he hoped Boris Johnson would be able to deal with the consequences of the UK’s exit from the EU. “The free movement of labour is part of the European Union, and we worked very hard to convince the British not to leave the union,” he said.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng spoke about the government’s measures against the bottlenecks created in the supply of petrol and diesel in the country. While business representatives admit that Brexit is one reason for the situation, the government denies any connection between the two.

Closing Petrol Stations and Leaving the British Without Fuel

The influx of customers into petrol stations across the country continues, prompting a British industry executive to warn that many people will run out of fuel. British Petroleum (BP) says about 20 petrol stations have been shut down and between 50 and 100 petrol stations are currently out of fuel. Freedom of movement for workers ended with the completion of Brexit, and there are expensive visa procedures in place for EU workers. This is one of the reasons why many petrol stations in the UK are now running out of fuel and have had to shut down.

Johnson Does Not Link the Fuel Crisis to the Election

Despite the severe fuel crisis in his country due to the shortage of truck drivers, the PM Boris Johnson continued to defend the strict rules and regulations in the country and stated in a video message that I do not think the British people want to solve all the problems with immigration.

“We tried that for a long time, 20 years or so, perhaps longer, and in the end people could see it was leading to a low-wage, low-skill approach without enough investment in people or in equipment”, Johnson said.

Pictures have been posted on media showing people storing petrol in old water bottles. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps called the move dangerous and asked people to refrain from doing so. In his video message, Johnson described driver shortages as a global problem, with high demand around the world in a tense economic situation.

Working as a truck driver in the UK has no longer been attractive to non-British people since Brexit was finalised. In the post-Brexit period, UK borders have been closed to Europe and extensive bureaucratic procedures have been put in place. However, the government has so far refused to change visa procedures for the use of foreign workers. Many of these workers have left the country because of Brexit and the Covid-19 outbreak.

After 47 years of membership, the UK officially left the EU in early 2021. The government says it has reached an agreement on the future of trade cooperation with the EU. But in practice, the departure has created many obstacles, especially for the UK.

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