Around 200 soldiers will begin delivering petrol on Monday in an effort to end Britain’s fuel crisis after going through a crash HGV course.
Military tanker drivers are undergoing training at hauler sites and will be deployed to deliver fuel to forecourts across the country to help stabilize the situation, which the government is pushing.
The Defense Ministry approved the request for assistance and troops will start operating fuel lorries from Monday next week.
The new development will see soldiers driving HGVs, urging the PM to “act now” as thousands of Britons shopped at petrol stations across the country.
It was also announced that a temporary visa scheme for foreign HGV drivers expiring on 24 December would now be extended to the end of February.
The government said 300 fuel drivers will be able to come to the UK from overseas “immediately” under a bespoke temporary visa, which will last until March.
And another 4,700 visas intended for foreign food transport drivers will be extended beyond the three months initially announced and run from late October to the end of February.
But Chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned that shortages of goods could continue until Christmas, adding that we are seeing a “real disruption in the supply chain”.
He told the Mail: “We are determined to do what we can to try to reduce it as much as we can.”
The chancellor revealed that he has “absolute confidence and optimism” about the economic recovery, despite problems with energy, food and fuel supplies.
The government said the demand for fuel has stabilized and is now being supplied more than is being sold, but some parts of the country are still facing challenges.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay said: “The Government has taken decisive action to deal with short-term disruptions to our supply chains and the flow of fuel in particular to the forecourt.
“We are now seeing the impact of these interventions with more fuel than is sold in the forecourt and if people continue to return to their normal buying patterns, we will see shorter queues and stop petrol stations from closing. “
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said: “More than 200 military personnel will have been mobilized as part of Operation Escaline during the weekend.
“While the situation is stabilizing, our armed forces are there to fill any critical vacancies and help the country move forward by supporting industry to deliver fuel to the forecourt.”
The temporary visa scheme was announced last week to buy hit filling stations across the UK, with petrol and diesel supplies hit by a shortage of HGV drivers.
Foreign drivers as well as 5,500 poultry workers will be allowed to help stock supermarket shelves with turkeys before Christmas.
The government has said that these employees will now be able to stay till December 31.
But it says visas will not be a long-term solution and wants employers to invest in the UK’s domestic workforce rather than rely on foreign labour.
It said it is also working with industry to find long-term solutions to the shortage of HGV drivers and to encourage more people to enter logistics by improving pay and conditions.
Trade Secretary Quasi Quarteng said: “Thanks to the immense efforts of the industry over the past week, we continue to see signs that the pump conditions are gradually improving.
“UK forecourt stock levels are rising, fuel deliveries to forecourt are above normal levels, and fuel demand is stabilizing.
“It is important to emphasize that there is no national shortage of fuel in the UK, and that people should continue to buy fuel as usual. The sooner we return to our normal shopping habits, the sooner we can return to normalcy “
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