Hannah Mckay via Reuters
FLOP – This is another disappointment that would have gone well Boris Johnson. Less than 10% of 300 temporary visas offered by the United Kingdom to European drivers as part of the emergency program set up to reduce gasoline shortages have found a taker. And it took a while for the Prime Minister to admit it.
While our colleagues from Times, announced this Tuesday, October 5 that only 27 European truck drivers had applied – out of 300 visas for a period of three months -, Boris Johnson, interviewed by the BBC, he put forward the figure of 127 requests. “What we said to the trucking industry was ‘great, give us the names of the drivers you want to bring in and we’ll settle the visas,’ he said. They have produced only 127 names so far ”.
27 or 127?
Contact by The HuffPost, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) finally confirmed this Tuesday afternoon that the number of requests is indeed 27. And in fact, the government shortly after finally returned to the words of the Prime Minister , in turn confirming the figure.
The Ministry of Transport (DfT) subsequently clarified that of the visas issued, 27 were for tanker drivers and the other 100 were for food transporters.
“This is a global problem and we have been working closely for months with the sector to understand how to increase recruitment,” said a government spokesperson in a statement sent to the government. HuffPost by the BEIS.
How to explain such figures? For Rod Mckenzie, director of the Road Haulage Association, interviewed by iNews, these visas are not “attractive”.
“Why would truck drivers give up a job in Europe for a short gig in the UK?” He asks. We have always said that 12 month visas are necessary ”. He added: “You don’t give up a well-paid job for a better-paying job if it only lasts a few months.”
These visas were notably put in place to deal with the shortage of gasoline in the country. Indeed for ten days, long queues have formed in front of service stations in London and South East Englande, faced with supply problems due to a lack of truck drivers. According to professionals in the sector, 100,000 are lacking. Tuesday, October 5, another 15% of them, in London and the South East, the most affected regions, still had no fuel.
The situation is the latest consequence of the workforce shortages caused by the pandemic and Brexit, with delivery problems also affecting supermarket shelves, fast food chains and even pubs.
Faced with the threat of empty shelves at Christmas, the government amended its immigration policy to grant up to 10,500 temporary work visas, including 300 for tanker drivers.
Showing full optimism, Boris Johnson still went so far as to dismiss even the term crisis, estimating on the airwaves of the BBC Tuesday, October 5 that the situation in the British economy, like the world economy, is that of a “giant waking up”.
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