Government insists there is “no shortage of fuel” as BP closes some courtyards

Drivers urged by government to ‘buy fuel as usual’ after truck driver shortage hits supplies (Nick Ansell / PA) (PA Archives)

Drivers are invited by the Government to “buy fuel normally” after the shortage of truck drivers hit supplies.

BP said a “handful” of its gas stations were closed due to a lack of available fuel, while the owner of Esso ExxonMobil also said that a “small number” of its Tesco Alliance oil yards have been affected.

A government spokeswoman said: ‘There is no shortage of fuel in the UK and people should continue to buy fuel normally.

Truck driver shortages affect all sectors of the economy (Steve Parsons / PA) (PA Wire)

Truck driver shortages affect all sectors of the economy (Steve Parsons / PA) (PA Wire)

“We recognize the challenges facing the industry and have already taken steps to increase the supply of heavy truck drivers, including streamlining the process for new drivers and increasing the number of test drives.

“We continue to closely monitor labor supply and work with industry leaders to understand how we can best alleviate specific pinch points.”

Jim mcmahon Labor’s shadow secretary said it was a “rapidly worsening crisis” and accused the government of “never investing or valuing the jobs of the working class”.

He continued, “Sticky plaster solutions are not going to solve it.

“Ministers must take decisive action now to address the 90,000 driver shortage. “

BP told the government at a meeting last Thursday that the company’s ability to transport fuel from refineries to its network of service stations would falter.

BP UK retail manager Hanna Hofer said it was important for the government to understand “the urgency of the situation”, which she described as “bad, very bad”, according to an ITV News report.

She added that BP had “two-thirds of the normal forecourt stock levels required for proper operation” and that the level “is declining rapidly.”

Meanwhile, an ExxonMobil spokesperson said: “A small number of our 200 Tesco Alliance retail locations are affected.

“We work closely with all parts of our distribution network to optimize supplies and minimize inconvenience to customers. “

A Tesco spokeswoman said: “We have good fuel availability, with deliveries arriving daily at our service stations across the UK.”

The heavy goods vehicle sector has been struggling to recruit in recent months with a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit reduce the number of available drivers.

With the closure of test centers and the return of many heavy truck drivers from the EU during the pandemic, this has created a shortage of qualified drivers.

The problem has already hit supermarkets, with shelves half full and grocers forced to raise wages and introduce signing bonuses to fill in the gaps.

It has spread to garbage collection services, with some councils canceling garbage collections as drivers have taken more lucrative jobs elsewhere.

We continue to work with our transportation provider to minimize disruption and ensure effective and efficient deliveries to serve our customers.

PA

Calls from Morrisons and Ocado for the government to add heavy truck drivers to its list of skills shortage jobs, to enable EU workers to fill the gap, were investigated but did not not implemented following pressure from the Ministry of the Interior.

BP has reportedly asked the government for similar support temporarily.

Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, which represents independent forecourts across the UK, said some sites are suffering from delays, particularly those in London and the south-east of England.

He recommended motorists keep enough fuel in the tank to reach alternative gas stations in the “rare cases” where fuel is not available on the first visit.

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