The UK government plans to turn around and relax visa rules for truck drivers to ease supply issues.
Some gas stations have had to close in recent days because there are not enough qualified drivers to distribute the fuel across the country. There have also been reports of empty supermarket shelves due to supply issues.
The industry says there is a shortage of tens of thousands of truck drivers.
The COVID pandemic, an aging workforce and an exodus of foreign workers following Brexit have all been cited as reasons.
New immigration rules introduced after Brexit mean EU citizens can no longer live and work visa-free in the UK.
The road transport association urged the government in June relax visa rules to help improve the situation.
British agriculture and agri-food industries, which are running out of fruit pickers and the meat packers, have made similar demands.
London resisted, saying British workers should be trained for the jobs. He stressed that Britain has no shortage of fuel, but that hasn’t stopped motorists lining up at gas stations to refuel just in case.
Then, on Friday evening, the government said it was now considering “temporary measures to avoid any immediate problems.”
He added that any action he would take would be “very strictly limited in time.”
Sporadic supply chains in supermarkets and other stores that started several weeks ago have also been attributed to a lack of delivery drivers.
BP and Esso closed a handful of their stations in Britain this week because there weren’t enough truckers to get gasoline to pumps. EG Group, which operates around 400 service stations in the UK, said it was limiting purchases to £ 30 (€ 35).
In a statement, the government said Britain had “sufficient stocks of fuel”.
“But like countries around the world, we are suffering from a temporary shortage of COVID-related drivers needed to get supplies across the country,” he said, not acknowledging Brexit as a factor.
Confederation of British Industry chief Tony Danker said driver shortage was part “a Brexit hangover”
“We brought in several drivers home that we wouldn’t have wanted to go back, and I think there’s this bigger issue of the immigration system, and it’s complicated,” he told the BBC.
Danker said easing visa rules would be “a huge relief.”
“It’s a shame the government needed lines at the pumps to move, but I hope I hope and it will help,” he said.