The UK government has pledged to support the struggling HGV sector as the holiday season approaches.
The industry has been crumbling recently under the combined pressure of Covid-19, Brexit and the lack of incentivisation to join the HGV sector.
Industry bodies have been demanding government intervention for months, with farmers, drivers and food service representatives drawing attention to the lack of workers within the supply chain.
According to the administration, 200 military personnel will be providing fuel deliveries across the UK starting this week, with 100 qualified drivers providing support to undersupplied petrol stations.
The initiative joins the government’s previous decision to allow a limited number of poultry workers, food and fuel drivers to enter the UK on a short-term emergency basis.
An estimated 5500 poultry workers are scheduled to arrive from late October and will stay until December 31, 2021, with an additional 4700 food haulage drivers set to arrive from late October and leave by February 28, 2022.
The government has already green-lit 300 fuel drivers to enter the UK immediately and stay until the end of March 2022.
Representatives from the administration said that its move to allow migrant workers into the country will “not detract” from its commitment to upskill domestic labour and improve working conditions to make the HGV sector more attractive to new industry recruits.
“The Government has taken decisive action to tackle the short-term disruption to our supply chains, and in particular the flow of fuel to forecourts,” Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay said.
“We are now seeing the impact of these interventions with more fuel being delivered to forecourts than sold.
“If people continue to revert to their normal buying patterns, we will see smaller queues and prevent petrol stations closing.”
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwerteng added: “We are seeing continued signs that the situation at the pumps is slowly improving.
“UK forecourt stock levels are trending up, deliveries of fuel to forecourts are above normal levels, and fuel demand is stabilising.
“The sooner we return to our normal buying habits, the sooner we can return to normal.”