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British Gasoline Crisis Spreads Shortages in Supermarkets, Fast Food, Other Areas

Sept. 29, 2021 (EIRNS)—The British government of Boris Johnson yesterday put the army on standby to provide 150 truck drivers to help transport gasoline to gas stations across the country on an emergency basis. Two-thirds of all gas stations on Sept. 26 had run out of gasoline. BBC reported that the “fuel supply is plentiful at refineries,” but blamed the shortage at the pump on lack of drivers. “The U.K. is estimated to be short of more than 100,000 lorry [truck] drivers—causing problems for a range of industries, including food suppliers and supermarkets, in recent months.” The average age of drivers today is said to be 55 years old, and many drivers from Central Europe and elsewhere who used to come to the U.K. no longer do so, because of Brexit, the COVID pandemic, and other matters.

The Johnson government, besides blaming the public for causing the crisis by engaging in panic buying of gasoline, has announced that they will issue temporary visas through Christmas Eve for 5,000 foreign fuel tanker drivers, as well as for 5,500 poultry workers—since there is an emerging crisis in the food sector as well. The government also sent out letters to 1 million drivers qualified for commercial licenses to rejoin the sector.

AP reported that the trucking crisis in the U.K. has also created shortages in fast-food chains such as KFC and McDonald’s, and that “supermarket shelves have also run dry.” The crisis also “is compromising patient care as doctors and nurses struggle to get to work,” due to the gas shortage. Furthermore, “there are concerns within the farming community ... that much of this year’s harvest will be left to rot because there aren’t enough agricultural workers around.”

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