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FUEL AND HGV CRISIS

October 9, 2021 8:00 AM
By Luigi Gregori in Andover Advertiser

Councillor Luigi Gregori, our local Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson commented:

"I could not get onto our road into town as it was blocked by traffic queueing to get into a petrol station. That has now gone because they have run out of fuel to sell. Blaming the public for panic buying is not good enough. We have already seen shortages on our shop shelves. That should have been a wake-up call, yet it was ignored.

We are all disappointed that the Conservative government has failed to get a grip on the current fuel crisis. Industry has made it clear that we are short of over 100,000 HGV drivers. The shortage is due to a combination of factors including Covid, losing European drivers due to Brexit, and our national lack of investment in the haulage industry. Fuel tanker drivers require additional qualifications which further complicate the situation.

Granting only 5,000 very temporary visas for overseas drivers is not going to make much of an impact. Deciding to think about deploying 150 service drivers is again a bit of a bucket in the ocean. The government must do more both to restore supplies as well as confidence. The two go hand in hand. We should dramatically increase the number and scope of the driver visas and start to invest in our haulage industry. We should also consider prioritising key workers including NHS and schools. If this is not sorted out, we are heading for a difficult Christmas, let alone winter."