Just ONE per cent of Britain’s petrol stations are empty, fuel bosses say

Desperate motorists have been filling up jerry cans as the UK’s fuel crisis continued today – but less than 100 petrol stations are empty and drivers have been urged not to panic.

Motorists ignored Government pleas for calm as they jammed roads and police had to be called in to marshal drivers amid fears that fuel shortages could bring the economy to its knees.

Photographs are today circulating online showing drivers stocking up on fuel – which is already in short supply because of the absence of drivers to transport it from source to stations – as just one per cent of Britain’s petrol stations are empty.

Some had multiple jerry cans in the boot of their cars and spent time filling each up while others queued for hours to reach the pump. Meanwhile, around 400 stations owned by the EG Group is limiting customers to £30 worth of petrol to give everyone a ‘fair chance to refuel’.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson revealed a visa U-turn for 5,000 foreign truck drivers to try to stem the shortage. 

There are currently about 8,350 filling stations in the UK and less than 100 of them have been forced to close due to shortages. However, the Petrol Retailer’s Association has warned the situation could get worse before it improves. 

BP said around 20 of its 1,200 petrol forecourts were closed due to a lack of available fuel, with between 50 and 100 sites affected by the loss of at least one grade of fuel.

A ‘small number’ of Tesco refilling stations have also been impacted, said Esso owner ExxonMobil, which runs the sites. The queuing scenes come despite No 10 and motoring bodies urging the public not to panic-buy.

President of the AA Edmund King reiterated on Saturday there there ‘is plenty of fuel at the source’ and no need to stock up. When speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said the current queues at petrol stations were unlikely to last.

‘The good news is you can only really fill up once – you’ve got to use the fuel, so this should be a short-term thing,’ said Mr King. ‘It’s not like the fuel crises in the past when the supplier was hit by strikes, etc.

‘So, once people have filled up, they won’t travel more than they normally travel, so this strain on the system should ease up in the next few days.’  

As the crisis continued: 

  • Police were called to forecourts to manage queues, head off confrontations and keep traffic moving; 
  • Motorists in queues complained about greedy customers filling their tanks and then jerry cans;
  • Small petrol stations raised prices to cash in on the panic and experts warned of further increases;   
  • Couple missed an emergency A&E appointment because petrol station queues blocked a major road;
  • Haulage company boss warned a temporary change to visa rules would not solve the crisis.  
A motorist lays out a half dozen fuel containers on the floor of the forecourt in Upminster to fill her boot with fuel while desperate drivers queue for hours behind

A motorist lays out a half dozen fuel containers on the floor of the forecourt in Upminster to fill her boot with fuel while desperate drivers queue for hours behind

A motorist lays out a half dozen fuel containers on the floor of the forecourt in Upminster to fill her boot with fuel while desperate drivers queue for hours behind

A man is pictured carrying containers at a Tesco Petrol Station in Bracknell, Berkshire, as desperate drivers resort to different means of securing their fuel

A man is pictured carrying containers at a Tesco Petrol Station in Bracknell, Berkshire, as desperate drivers resort to different means of securing their fuel

A man is pictured carrying containers at a Tesco Petrol Station in Bracknell, Berkshire, as desperate drivers resort to different means of securing their fuel

Photographs are today circulating online showing 'greedy' drivers stocking up on fuel

Photographs are today circulating online showing 'greedy' drivers stocking up on fuel

A  man fills up containers with fuel

A  man fills up containers with fuel

Photographs are today circulating online showing ‘greedy’ drivers stocking up on fuel – which is already in short supply because of the absence of drivers to transport it from source to stations

Some had multiple jerry cans in the boot of their cars and spent time filling each up while others queued for hours to reach the pump. Pictured: Customers queuing in their cars to access an Asda petrol station in east London on Saturday

Some had multiple jerry cans in the boot of their cars and spent time filling each up while others queued for hours to reach the pump. Pictured: Customers queuing in their cars to access an Asda petrol station in east London on Saturday

Some had multiple jerry cans in the boot of their cars and spent time filling each up while others queued for hours to reach the pump. Pictured: Customers queuing in their cars to access an Asda petrol station in east London on Saturday

A Shell garage employee holds a sign on the side of the road informing traffic that they do not have unleaded petrol

A Shell garage employee holds a sign on the side of the road informing traffic that they do not have unleaded petrol

A Shell garage employee holds a sign on the side of the road informing traffic that they do not have unleaded petrol

Queues at the BP petrol station in Soham,Cambridgeshire,at 8am on Saturday morning as the panic buying continues

Queues at the BP petrol station in Soham,Cambridgeshire,at 8am on Saturday morning as the panic buying continues

Queues at the BP petrol station in Soham,Cambridgeshire,at 8am on Saturday morning as the panic buying continues

Queues of cars snake round a roundabout as drivers desperately wait to fill their cars at a Tesco fuel station in Ashford, Kent

Queues of cars snake round a roundabout as drivers desperately wait to fill their cars at a Tesco fuel station in Ashford, Kent

Queues of cars snake round a roundabout as drivers desperately wait to fill their cars at a Tesco fuel station in Ashford, Kent

A motorist filled multiple vessels with illegal quantities of fuel amid a national shortage at stations because of the absence of delivery drivers

A motorist filled multiple vessels with illegal quantities of fuel amid a national shortage at stations because of the absence of delivery drivers

A motorist filled multiple vessels with illegal quantities of fuel amid a national shortage at stations because of the absence of delivery drivers 

There are currently about 8,350 filling stations in the UK and less than 100 of them have been forced to close due to shortages. Pictured: Motorists queue to fill their cars at a Tesco fuel station in Ashford, Kent, on Saturday

There are currently about 8,350 filling stations in the UK and less than 100 of them have been forced to close due to shortages. Pictured: Motorists queue to fill their cars at a Tesco fuel station in Ashford, Kent, on Saturday

There are currently about 8,350 filling stations in the UK and less than 100 of them have been forced to close due to shortages. Pictured: Motorists queue to fill their cars at a Tesco fuel station in Ashford, Kent, on Saturday








A boot filled with jerry cans is pictured at a UK forecourt in Maidstone. Petrol stations are facing the impact of a shortage of tank drivers to bring the fuel from source to station

A boot filled with jerry cans is pictured at a UK forecourt in Maidstone. Petrol stations are facing the impact of a shortage of tank drivers to bring the fuel from source to station

A boot filled with jerry cans is pictured at a UK forecourt in Maidstone. Petrol stations are facing the impact of a shortage of tank drivers to bring the fuel from source to station

Around 400 stations owned by the EG Group is limiting customers to £30 worth of petrol to give everyone a 'fair chance to refuel'. Pictured: Motorists queue to fill their cars at a Tesco fuel station in Ashford, Kent, on Saturday

Around 400 stations owned by the EG Group is limiting customers to £30 worth of petrol to give everyone a 'fair chance to refuel'. Pictured: Motorists queue to fill their cars at a Tesco fuel station in Ashford, Kent, on Saturday

Around 400 stations owned by the EG Group is limiting customers to £30 worth of petrol to give everyone a ‘fair chance to refuel’. Pictured: Motorists queue to fill their cars at a Tesco fuel station in Ashford, Kent, on Saturday








Queues at the Tesco petrol station in Newmarket, Suffolk, at 9am on Saturday morning as the panic buying continues

Queues at the Tesco petrol station in Newmarket, Suffolk, at 9am on Saturday morning as the panic buying continues

Queues at the Tesco petrol station in Newmarket, Suffolk, at 9am on Saturday morning as the panic buying continues








Queues at the BP petrol station in Soham, Cambridgeshire, at 8am on Saturday morning as the panic buying continued

Queues at the BP petrol station in Soham, Cambridgeshire, at 8am on Saturday morning as the panic buying continued

Queues at the BP petrol station in Soham, Cambridgeshire, at 8am on Saturday morning as the panic buying continued

An Ambulance fills up with fuel at a Shell garage where there is no unleaded petrol but people queue for diesel on Saturday in London

An Ambulance fills up with fuel at a Shell garage where there is no unleaded petrol but people queue for diesel on Saturday in London

An Ambulance fills up with fuel at a Shell garage where there is no unleaded petrol but people queue for diesel on Saturday in London

The Government is considering temporary measures to tackle the shortage of HGV drivers which is wreaking havoc on a number of UK industries. Pictured: Motorists queue for fuel at a JET station in Slough, Berkshire, on Saturday

The Government is considering temporary measures to tackle the shortage of HGV drivers which is wreaking havoc on a number of UK industries. Pictured: Motorists queue for fuel at a JET station in Slough, Berkshire, on Saturday

The Government is considering temporary measures to tackle the shortage of HGV drivers which is wreaking havoc on a number of UK industries. Pictured: Motorists queue for fuel at a JET station in Slough, Berkshire, on Saturday

A sign is pictured outside an Esso garage informing the public that they have no fuel on Saturday in London amid fears fuel shortages could bring the economy to a grinding halt

A sign is pictured outside an Esso garage informing the public that they have no fuel on Saturday in London amid fears fuel shortages could bring the economy to a grinding halt

A sign is pictured outside an Esso garage informing the public that they have no fuel on Saturday in London amid fears fuel shortages could bring the economy to a grinding halt

The UK government is poised to temporarily ease visa rules to attract more foreign lorry drivers, reports said Saturday, as it grapples with a growing shortage that has now hit fuel supplies. Pictured: Customers queuing outside Asda in east London

The UK government is poised to temporarily ease visa rules to attract more foreign lorry drivers, reports said Saturday, as it grapples with a growing shortage that has now hit fuel supplies. Pictured: Customers queuing outside Asda in east London

The UK government is poised to temporarily ease visa rules to attract more foreign lorry drivers, reports said Saturday, as it grapples with a growing shortage that has now hit fuel supplies. Pictured: Customers queuing outside Asda in east London








Newport Pagnell services on the M1 northbound in Bedfordshire is pictured at 12.45pm on Saturday as motorists queued

Newport Pagnell services on the M1 northbound in Bedfordshire is pictured at 12.45pm on Saturday as motorists queued

Newport Pagnell services on the M1 northbound in Bedfordshire is pictured at 12.45pm on Saturday as motorists queued








Traffic formed on the sliproad to Newport Pagnell services on the M1 on Saturday afternoon as drivers queued to get fuel

Traffic formed on the sliproad to Newport Pagnell services on the M1 on Saturday afternoon as drivers queued to get fuel

Traffic formed on the sliproad to Newport Pagnell services on the M1 on Saturday afternoon as drivers queued to get fuel








Two traffic officers went on to close the sliproad to Toddington services on the M1 northbound in Bedfordshire

Two traffic officers went on to close the sliproad to Toddington services on the M1 northbound in Bedfordshire

Two traffic officers went on to close the sliproad to Toddington services on the M1 northbound in Bedfordshire








The Prime Minister is expected to buckle and grant visas for thousands of foreign drivers in a bid to tackle the shortages, while soldiers will also be drafted in to help at HGV testing sites to clear a backlog of drivers trying to get licences. 

But Toby Ovens, managing director of Broughton Transport Solutions, said he is not convinced a temporary visa scheme will solve the current shortage of HGV drivers. 

Photographs show desperate motorists queuing for petrol at 5.45am this morning at Sainsbury’s Alperton station as the hunt for fuel continued overnight.

And one woman told MailOnline her 75-year-old husband missed his emergency A&E hospital appointment this morning when they hit traffic queuing for Esso garage on Wood Street in Barnet, London. 

Dan Goldsmith, of Marine and Wildlife Rescue, told MailOnline his team couldn’t help ill seal pups around the Norfolk coast because they were running out of fuel.

He said: ‘We have numerous seal pups that are sick around the Norfolk coast and currently outstanding, we just have no fuel locally and now we are below 30 mile range for our vehicle, we have had to suspend our service. This situation is frustrating and so unfortunate.’ 

Britain is said to be short of more than 90,000 drivers, partly the result of coronavirus which cancelled the training and testing of tens of thousands of workers, and there are concerns an additional 5,000 may be too little, too late to halt the chaos.   

Driver shortages are hitting every part of the economy, creating gaps on supermarket shelves, leaving pubs and restaurants short of key produce and jeopardising the supply of key chemicals to water firms.  

The problems were triggered after BP and Esso admitted on Thursday that a lack of tanker drivers was hitting deliveries. The news led to a race to the petrol pumps with the result that hundreds ran out of some fuel types and dozens closed altogether.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps‘ appeal for drivers to ‘carry on as normal’ has been ignored, leading to long jams and angry scenes at filling stations.    

Jackie Cohen’s husband Raymond missed his appointment on Saturday morning after queues completely blocked the road. Mrs Cohen told MailOnline: ‘The queues are so horrendous for the stations that are open the area is blocked off.’

The former social worker’s husband felt feint this morning and was told to visit Barnet General Hospital’s A&E by his doctor – a trip that should have taken ten minutes by car.

She added: ‘We got an appointment at 8.45am. We left very early and it took over an hour. He missed his appointment. The queues aren’t controlled in any way. 

‘I just spoke to a friend and there’s solid traffic where she lives too. I’m currently waiting in the car at the hospital while Raymond has tests and I can’t get home because I won’t get back in time.’

‘Once we cleared the garage the roads were empty,’ she said.

Elsewhere, police officers have been pictured standing among cars to ensure queues don’t block roads at one Esso station in Northwood, London.

Queues have continued overnight and this morning at this Apple Green petrol station at Palmers Green in North London as motorists leave the A406 to fuel up
Queues have continued overnight and this morning at this Apple Green petrol station at Palmers Green in North London as motorists leave the A406 to fuel up
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Queues have continued overnight and this morning at this Apple Green petrol station at Palmers Green in North London as motorists leave the A406 to fuel up

Cars queue outside Asda petrol station in Reading, Berkshire, as Esso, BP and Tesco petrol forecourts have been affected by challenges getting deliveries

Cars queue outside Asda petrol station in Reading, Berkshire, as Esso, BP and Tesco petrol forecourts have been affected by challenges getting deliveries

Cars queue outside Asda petrol station in Reading, Berkshire, as Esso, BP and Tesco petrol forecourts have been affected by challenges getting deliveries

A tanker driver watches as fuel is pumped from his tanker into storage tanks at a BP petrol station in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire on Saturday

A tanker driver watches as fuel is pumped from his tanker into storage tanks at a BP petrol station in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire on Saturday

A tanker driver watches as fuel is pumped from his tanker into storage tanks at a BP petrol station in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire on Saturday

Drivers queue to enter a fuel station in London as the panic buying continued on Saturday afternoon

Drivers queue to enter a fuel station in London as the panic buying continued on Saturday afternoon

Drivers queue to enter a fuel station in London as the panic buying continued on Saturday afternoon

A Morrisons worker directed traffic in efforts to contain the chaos at a petrol station in St Ives, Cambridgeshire

A Morrisons worker directed traffic in efforts to contain the chaos at a petrol station in St Ives, Cambridgeshire

A Morrisons worker directed traffic in efforts to contain the chaos at a petrol station in St Ives, Cambridgeshire

Motorists queue for fuel at a BP Petrol Station in Leicester as the shortage of HGV drivers wreaked havoc

Motorists queue for fuel at a BP Petrol Station in Leicester as the shortage of HGV drivers wreaked havoc

Motorists queue for fuel at a BP Petrol Station in Leicester as the shortage of HGV drivers wreaked havoc 

A closed Asda petrol station in Bristol after the forecourt's fuel supplies were used up during the panic buying spree

A closed Asda petrol station in Bristol after the forecourt's fuel supplies were used up during the panic buying spree

A closed Asda petrol station in Bristol after the forecourt’s fuel supplies were used up during the panic buying spree

Queues snaked along the road at this JET station in Slough, Berkshire, as the panic buying continued on Saturday

Queues snaked along the road at this JET station in Slough, Berkshire, as the panic buying continued on Saturday

Queues snaked along the road at this JET station in Slough, Berkshire, as the panic buying continued on Saturday

An Ambulance exits a Shell garage, which doesn't have any unleaded petrol, after filling up on fuel

An Ambulance exits a Shell garage, which doesn't have any unleaded petrol, after filling up on fuel

An Ambulance exits a Shell garage, which doesn’t have any unleaded petrol, after filling up on fuel

The road outside a JET station in Slough, Berkshire, was blocked as cars queued for the petrol station

The road outside a JET station in Slough, Berkshire, was blocked as cars queued for the petrol station

The road outside a JET station in Slough, Berkshire, was blocked as cars queued for the petrol station

Motorists queue for petrol at an Esso petrol station in Brockley, South London, amid a shortage of drivers to bring the fuel to stations this weekend

Motorists queue for petrol at an Esso petrol station in Brockley, South London, amid a shortage of drivers to bring the fuel to stations this weekend

Motorists queue for petrol at an Esso petrol station in Brockley, South London, amid a shortage of drivers to bring the fuel to stations this weekend








Petrol station queue on Anerley Road in London

Petrol station queue on Anerley Road in London

Anerley Road in London

Anerley Road in London

Queues to Anerley Road petrol station in London blocked a main road as dozens of cars waited for a chance to get fuel

Drivers queued throughout the night to fill their cars with petrol. Pictured, queues at Sainsbury's Alperton petrol station at 5:45am as the issue continued

Drivers queued throughout the night to fill their cars with petrol. Pictured, queues at Sainsbury's Alperton petrol station at 5:45am as the issue continued

Drivers queued throughout the night to fill their cars with petrol. Pictured, queues at Sainsbury’s Alperton petrol station at 5:45am as the issue continued

Storing jerry cans at home is illegal if not done properly 

It is illegal to store petrol at home in a jerry can because by law the fuel must be kept in small quantities.

Either a metal 10-litre container or a five-litre plastic one can be used.

Both have to carry a notice reading ‘Highly Flammable’ and the maximum amount that can be kept at home in total is 30 litres.

It is illegal to use 20-litre jerry can containers because the fuel must not be stored in such a large quantity in one vessel.     

The AA previously said it was ‘desperately worried’ about people storing petrol and diesel which it describes as ‘incredibly, incredibly dangerous’.

But it is legal to keep fuel as long as the strict limits are adhered to.  

There are guidelines for where the fuel can be kept: either in a shed; garage or outside no more than six metres from the house.    

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The EG Group has limited customers to £30 worth of fuel to try to manage the sudden demand in supply. 

In a statement, a spokesperson said: ‘Due to the current unprecedented customer demand for fuel and associated supply challenges we have taken the decision to introduce a limit of £30 per customer on all of our grades of fuel.

‘This excludes HGV drivers and emergency services due to their vital role at this time. This is a company decision to ensure all our customers have a fair chance to refuel and to enable our sites to carry on running smoothly.

‘We kindly ask everyone visiting our sites to treat our colleagues, supply chain partners and customers with respect during these very challenging times.’

The head of the AA said while queues for fuel are unlikely to last, a shortage of lorry drivers and HGV drivers is an ongoing issue.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr King said: ‘The market is stretched, so I think that is a broader issue that is affecting the supply chain, not just the petrol and diesel but retail as well.’

He added that the current queues at petrol stations are unlikely to last because the supply chain is not hit by ongoing problems such as strikes.

Mr King said: ‘The good news is you can only really fill up once – you’ve got to use the fuel, so this should be a short-term thing.

‘It’s not like the fuel crises in the past when the supplier was hit by strikes, etc.

‘So, once people have filled up, they won’t travel more than they normally travel, so this strain on the system should ease up in the next few days.’

Mr King said there is ‘plenty of fuel at the source’ and no need to panic buy.

‘We were in discussions with Government ministers last night and we talked to the major fuel companies, and we can reiterate there is not a problem with supply at the source.

‘Earlier in the week, there were some problems with the supply chain, as we know, due to a shortage of some lorry drivers, but that was only a localised problem. Frankly, what has exacerbated it is people going out and filling up when they really don’t need to.

‘If you think about it, 30 million cars out there, if they’ve all got half a tank (and) if they all rush out to fill up the rest of the tank and the tank is about 60 litres, that will put a strain on the system.’ 

Mr King said the Government has freed up a number of driving tests for HGV drivers but said he did not know the specifics of further action it plans to take.

‘(The Government) said announcements will be imminent, so possibly over the weekend, I think, we will hear more detail on that,’ he said. 

A Tesco Petrol Station in Bracknell, Berkshire, had a sign outside warning drivers there was limited petrol

A Tesco Petrol Station in Bracknell, Berkshire, had a sign outside warning drivers there was limited petrol

A closed petrol station in Ashford, Kent

A closed petrol station in Ashford, Kent

A Tesco Petrol Station in Bracknell, Berkshire, had a sign outside warning drivers there was limited petrol (left). Right, a closed petrol station in Ashford, Kent

Motorists queued at an Esso petrol station in Brockley, South London, on Saturday morning

Motorists queued at an Esso petrol station in Brockley, South London, on Saturday morning

Motorists queued at an Esso petrol station in Brockley, South London, on Saturday morning

A heated argument at a Londis in London after scenes of chaos at petrol stations

A heated argument at a Londis in London after scenes of chaos at petrol stations

Customers were seen shouting at staff at a Londis in London amid fears fuel shortages could bring the economy to its knees

Customers were seen shouting at staff at a Londis in London amid fears fuel shortages could bring the economy to its knees

Boris Johnson is set for a foreign visas U-turn to allow in 5,000 lorry drivers amid frenzied buying  and flare ups (pictured, an argument between staff and customers at a Londis in London) at gridlocked filling stations








sMotorists ignored Government pleas for calm as they jammed roads to panic buy petrol into the night on Friday amid fears that fuel shortages could bring the economy to its knees

sMotorists ignored Government pleas for calm as they jammed roads to panic buy petrol into the night on Friday amid fears that fuel shortages could bring the economy to its knees

Motorists ignored Government pleas for calm as they jammed roads to panic buy petrol into the night on Friday amid fears that fuel shortages could bring the economy to its knees

Cars were seen in snaking queues outside petrol stations as people rushed to buy petrol despite Transport Secretary Grant Shapps' appeal for drivers to 'carry on as normal'

Cars were seen in snaking queues outside petrol stations as people rushed to buy petrol despite Transport Secretary Grant Shapps' appeal for drivers to 'carry on as normal'

Cars were seen in snaking queues outside petrol stations as people rushed to buy petrol despite Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ appeal for drivers to ‘carry on as normal’

Mr Ovens, managing director of Broughton Transport Solutions, said he is not convinced a temporary visa scheme will solve the current shortage of HGV drivers.

He argued the shortage of HGV drivers is mainly down to driver wages rather than problems from Brexit, which he said he did not believe was a factor in the sector’s problems.

A major shortage of HGV drivers threatens to wreak havoc this winter, and the shortage has been exacerbated by a huge backlog in HGV tests due to Covid, as well as foreign drivers returning home amid the pandemic and Brexit. 

The Prime Minister is expected to grant visas for thousands of foreign drivers in a bid to tackle the shortages, while soldiers will also be drafted in to help at HGV testing sites to clear a backlog of drivers trying to get licences.  

When asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether such a scheme could help alleviate the shortage, Mr Ovens said: ‘I personally don’t think so.

‘No, I think a lot of what we’re seeing at the minute is down to essentially the driver wages.

‘Margins in haulage are very tight and the reality is the money isn’t there to pay the increased wages without substantial price increases to customers.’

The transport secretary Mr Shapps stressed that transport firms were offering huge salaries in a bid to entice drivers who have left the industry to come back – with one ‘top milk firm’ apparently offering as much as ‘£78,000-a-year’.

And Mr Ovens confirmed he has given his drivers a pay rise once already this year in a bid to lure more people into the industry and said he is looking at providing another pay rise already. 

He added: ‘That’s obviously going to involve another price increase for customers but, unfortunately, that is necessary at the present time.’

Mr Ovens said he did not believe Brexit had been a factor in the sector’s problems, with the improvement in living standards in eastern European countries – where lorry drivers have tended to hail from in recent years – meaning people are choosing to remain with their families rather than come to the UK for work.  

Petrol stations remained gridlocked into the evening Friday

Petrol stations remained gridlocked into the evening Friday

Queues snaked out of petrol stations on Friday as Boris Johnson prepared to U-turn on visas for 5,000 foreign HGV drivers in a bid to tackle fuel shortages

Queues snaked out of petrol stations on Friday as Boris Johnson prepared to U-turn on visas for 5,000 foreign HGV drivers in a bid to tackle fuel shortages

Petrol stations remained gridlocked into the evening Friday as Boris Johnson prepared to U-turn on visas for 5,000 foreign HGV drivers in a bid to tackle fuel shortages

Frenzied buying has caused flare ups at gridlocked filling stations today (pictured in Tonbridge) as motorists ignored Government pleas for calm

Frenzied buying has caused flare ups at gridlocked filling stations today (pictured in Tonbridge) as motorists ignored Government pleas for calm

Frenzied buying has caused flare ups at gridlocked filling stations today (pictured in Tonbridge) as motorists ignored Government pleas for calm

The chaotic scenes (pictured in Southport) came as Boris Johnson prepared U-turn on demands to change visa rules to offer visas to 5,000 foreign lorry drivers in a bid to tackle the shortage and stop the economy grinding to a halt.

The chaotic scenes (pictured in Southport) came as Boris Johnson prepared U-turn on demands to change visa rules to offer visas to 5,000 foreign lorry drivers in a bid to tackle the shortage and stop the economy grinding to a halt.

The chaotic scenes (pictured in Southport) came as Boris Johnson prepared U-turn on demands to change visa rules to offer visas to 5,000 foreign lorry drivers in a bid to tackle the shortage and stop the economy grinding to a halt.

A BP at Hampton Court says 'Sorry we're out of diesel' after frenzied buying saw stations swamped by panicked customers

A BP at Hampton Court says 'Sorry we're out of diesel' after frenzied buying saw stations swamped by panicked customers

A BP at Hampton Court says ‘Sorry we’re out of diesel’ after frenzied buying saw stations swamped by panicked customers

Parents on the school run could not get to the pumps, (pictured in Hampshire) while the elderly and traders were among the many thousands of motorists caught up in the frenzy

Parents on the school run could not get to the pumps, (pictured in Hampshire) while the elderly and traders were among the many thousands of motorists caught up in the frenzy

Parents on the school run could not get to the pumps, (pictured in Hampshire) while the elderly and traders were among the many thousands of motorists caught up in the frenzy 








Meanwhile, the head of the CBI said current labour shortages are ‘a little bit of a Brexit hangover’ as the Government considers relaxing visa rules.

Pensioner, 75, misses emergency A&E appointment thanks to petrol queues 

Jackie Cohen’s and her husband Raymond

Jackie Cohen’s and her husband Raymond

Jackie Cohen’s and her husband Raymond

One couple were trying to rush to hospital for an A&E appointment when they hit traffic queuing for Esso garage on Wood Street in Barnet, London.

Jackie Cohen’s husband Raymond missed his appointment on Saturday morning after queues completely blocked the road. Mrs Cohen told MailOnline: ‘The queues are so horrendous for the stations that are open the area is blocked off.’

The former social worker’s husband felt feint this morning and was told to visit A&E by his doctor – a trip that should have taken ten minutes by car.

She added: ‘We got an appointment at 8.45am. We left very early and it took over an hour. He missed his appointment. The queues aren’t controlled in any way. I just spoke to a friend and there’s solid traffic where she lives too. I’m currently waiting in the car at the hospital while Raymond has tests and I can’t get home because I won’t get back in time.’

‘Once we cleared the garage the roads were empty,’ she said.

Elsewhere, police officers have been pictured standing among cars to ensure queues don’t block roads at one Esso station in Northwood, London. 

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Tony Danker told BBC Breakfast: ‘We had several drivers go home that we wouldn’t have wanted to go home and I think there is this bigger question of the immigration system, and it’s a complicated one.’

He continued: ‘Essentially the Government said “look, post-Brexit, let’s have an immigration system that only lets in the skills we need, not the skills we don’t”.

‘Well, I think what we’re realising is there are some skills we need in the short run, we need to bring them in (but) not forever.’

Mr Danker said he hoped plans to relax visa rules was an indication of the Government taking a more practical approach to immigration.

He said the expected announcement that visa rules will be relaxed for foreign workers is ‘a huge relief’.

‘Hopefully it is going to happen and it is a huge relief.’

‘We’ve been calling for it for three months we could see this problem coming and more problems coming, and so it’s a shame the Government needed queues at the pumps to move, but move I hope they have and it will help.’

Mr Danker warned that as well as lorry driver shortages, there were also labour shortages, supply chain and energy problems.

‘I think what we need is the Government to grip these things with us in business and get ahead of them rather than behind them,’ he said.

Mr Danker added: ‘It’s taken a bit of a crisis to force their hand, but I really hope the Government follows through on what we’re hearing because that would provide some relief and get us started again.’ 

Many forecourts in London and other cities were closed or running low on both unleaded and diesel on Friday evening. The capital’s South Circular road was at a standstill at one point. The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association asked that its members should go on an emergency fuel register, giving them priority access to fuel.

BP said: ‘We are experiencing some fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK and unfortunately have therefore seen some sites temporarily close due to a lack of both unleaded and diesel grades.

‘We are prioritising deliveries to sites with largest demand and seeking to minimise the duration of stock outs.’ 

Jane Smithson, 62, a retired carer who was stocking up on fuel in Eltham, south-east London, said: ‘I’m gobsmacked, the world’s gone mad, I just cannot believe it.’

Charlie Mansfield, a 34-year-old paramedic, was worried she would not be able to start her shift if she could not get petrol. 

‘They should put a limit of the amount of litres you can buy, because people are just filling it up and taking it all,’ she said.

Trafford councillor Mike Freeman described Manchester as ‘bedlam’. He said: ‘I witnessed two motorists not just satisfied with filling up their cars but filling large jerry cans as well – people have clearly been spooked.’

Early yesterday, Mr Shapps urged motorists to ‘carry on as normal’ and insisted there was no danger of fuel pumps running dry. 

Britain is said to be short of more than 90,000 drivers, which is partly the result of coronavirus, which cancelled the training and the testing of tens of thousands of workers.

Other factors include the long-standing issue of poor recruitment linked to poor pay and conditions, as well as Brexit, which saw thousands of EU drivers go home.

The Government has set up a taskforce run by the former Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay to address supply chain issues.

Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK Campaign, blamed the Department for Transport for not tackling the driver shortage. He added: ‘Pump prices will rise in direct relation to the ‘don’t panic’ scaremongering messages from this clueless Government.’

A Downing Street spokesman said last night: ‘We have ample fuel stocks in this country and the public should be reassured there are no shortages.’  

Driver shortages are hitting every part of the economy, creating gaps on supermarket shelves, leaving pubs and restaurants short of key produce and jeopardising the supply of key chemicals to water firms (pictured, people queueing for fuel in Rochdale)

Driver shortages are hitting every part of the economy, creating gaps on supermarket shelves, leaving pubs and restaurants short of key produce and jeopardising the supply of key chemicals to water firms (pictured, people queueing for fuel in Rochdale)

Driver shortages are hitting every part of the economy, creating gaps on supermarket shelves, leaving pubs and restaurants short of key produce and jeopardising the supply of key chemicals to water firms (pictured, people queueing for fuel in Rochdale)

The problems were triggered after BP and Esso admitted on Thursday that a lack of tanker drivers was hitting deliveries (pictured, gridlock at a petrol station in Tonbridge)

The problems were triggered after BP and Esso admitted on Thursday that a lack of tanker drivers was hitting deliveries (pictured, gridlock at a petrol station in Tonbridge)

The problems were triggered after BP and Esso admitted on Thursday that a lack of tanker drivers was hitting deliveries (pictured, gridlock at a petrol station in Tonbridge)

The news led to a race to the petrol pumps (pictured in Cardiff, Wales) with the result that hundreds ran out of some fuel types and dozens closed altogether

The news led to a race to the petrol pumps (pictured in Cardiff, Wales) with the result that hundreds ran out of some fuel types and dozens closed altogether

The news led to a race to the petrol pumps (pictured in Cardiff, Wales) with the result that hundreds ran out of some fuel types and dozens closed altogether

Many forecourts in London and other cities were closed or running low on both unleaded and diesel (pictured, handwritten signs warning there was no fuel available at a station in Manchester)

Many forecourts in London and other cities were closed or running low on both unleaded and diesel (pictured, handwritten signs warning there was no fuel available at a station in Manchester)

Many forecourts in London and other cities were closed or running low on both unleaded and diesel (pictured, handwritten signs warning there was no fuel available at a station in Manchester)








The Prime Minister is expected to buckle and grant visas for thousands of foreign drivers in a bid to tackle the shortage, while soldiers will also be drafted in to help at HGV testing sites to clear a backlog of drivers trying to get licences

The Prime Minister is expected to buckle and grant visas for thousands of foreign drivers in a bid to tackle the shortage, while soldiers will also be drafted in to help at HGV testing sites to clear a backlog of drivers trying to get licences

The Prime Minister is expected to buckle and grant visas for thousands of foreign drivers in a bid to tackle the shortage, while soldiers will also be drafted in to help at HGV testing sites to clear a backlog of drivers trying to get licences








SIDCUP, KENT: Queues of cars spill out on the road from a Kent forecourt today after fuel bosses warned of rationing and petrol station closures

SIDCUP, KENT: Queues of cars spill out on the road from a Kent forecourt today after fuel bosses warned of rationing and petrol station closures

SIDCUP, KENT: Queues of cars spill out on the road from a Kent forecourt today after fuel bosses warned of rationing and petrol station closures

Drivers wait in line for fuel at a petrol station near the M4 in Coryton, Cardiff today as concerns grow

Drivers wait in line for fuel at a petrol station near the M4 in Coryton, Cardiff today as concerns grow

Drivers wait in line for fuel at a petrol station near the M4 in Coryton, Cardiff today as concerns grow

Vehicles bumper-to-bumper in Harpenden as they try to get into a BP garage today

Vehicles bumper-to-bumper in Harpenden as they try to get into a BP garage today

Vehicles bumper-to-bumper in Harpenden as they try to get into a BP garage today

Desperate motorists wind their way into a choc-a-bloc petrol station at a supermarket today

Desperate motorists wind their way into a choc-a-bloc petrol station at a supermarket today

Desperate motorists wind their way into a choc-a-bloc petrol station at a supermarket today

Officials have insisted a visa rule change, which Johnson appears poised to announce, would be ‘very short-term’ with the Government adamant that the industry needs to adapt to prevent future crises.

A source said: ‘We believe in British workers being paid properly and we will not give in to big businesses who want to change immigration rules to drive down wages.’ Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said early yesterday that he was wary about importing cheap foreign labour to solve the issue.

‘We’ve started to see people come into the sector to alleviate this problem and what I don’t want to do is undermine that in any way as we bring people in, attracted by higher salaries and wages,’ he told the BBC.

‘What I don’t want to do, and I’ve been hinting at this, is undercut with, as has happened before, cheaper European drivers and then find our drivers drop out because they are being undercut.

‘That doesn’t solve the problem, it just creates a new problem.’

Ministers held crunch talks on Friday afternoon to thrash out a solution to the shortage. It came as retailers on Friday warned ministers they have just 10 days to save Christmas from ‘significant disruption’ due to the lack of drivers.  

The British Retail Consortium said that disruption over the festive period will be ‘inevitable’ unless the shortfall of an estimated 90,000 drivers is addressed.

Ministers have reportedly discussed contingency plans for the Army to be brought in to drive petrol tankers to station forecourts but it is thought they would only be enacted as a last resort.  

Tory MP Marcus Fysh said that bringing in the Army would ‘not be an unreasonable way to think about dealing with an issue’.  

He said: ‘If there is a problem that needs to be fixed in the near term then that might be a way of fixing it.’

But ministers have been accused of dooming Britain to a Winter of Incompetence. The Government has been lambasted for failing to see the problems coming, with fears rationing might even be needed.

Environment Secretary George Eustice is thought to have been pushing for a move to grant temporary visas to EU nations to shore up the number of HGV drivers along with Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is also seemingly lowering objections to a time-limited change. 

But critics question why it has taken so long to address the problems, as companies have been raising alarm for months about the brewing crisis. The driver shortage has been exacerbated by a huge backlog in HGV tests due to Covid, as well as foreign drivers returning home amid the pandemic and Brexit.

There have also been huge pressures on global supply chains with economies getting up and running after the effective coronavirus shutdown – as well as factors like the Suez canal having been blocked months ago.   

The scenes of queues outside petrol stations – which for some will stir up memories of the 1973 Opec Oil Crisis and the 2000 fuel shortage – come amid fears of a 1978-style ‘winter of discontent’ for the UK, with skyrocketing energy prices, food shortages and fuel rationing.  

On Thursday BP announced plans to ration fuel and a ‘handful’ of its petrol stations, along with ‘small number’ of Tesco refilling stations, while supermarkets warned of food shortages and more energy firms went bust amid rising gas prices – sparking fears of a new ‘winter of discontent’.

And in a particularly unhelpful addition to the problem, eco-mob Insulate Britain returned to the roads today to block off a route to Port of Dover – Europe’s busiest port and the UK’s main gateway for trade from the EU.

On Thursday night the Petrol Retailers Association added to the rising sense of carnage by urging motorists to ‘keep a quarter of a tank’ of fuel in their vehicles in preparation for potential closures of local petrol stations.     

BRIGHTON: Customers queue for fuel at a supermarket petrol station in Brighton this morning . Some BP and Shell petrol stations have had to temporarily close because of a shortage of HGV drivers in the UK

LEEDS: Queues at a Sainsbury’s Petrol Station in Colton, Leeds. Drivers are being urged by the Government to ‘buy fuel as normal’, after the lorry driver shortage hit supplies








SIDCUP: LONDON: Huge queues formed at a Tesco petrol station in Sidcup, south east London, as people rush to get petrol








Long queues snaking down the road outside an Esso Petrol Station in Maghull, Liverpool, today

Long queues snaking down the road outside an Esso Petrol Station in Maghull, Liverpool, today

Long queues snaking down the road outside an Esso Petrol Station in Maghull, Liverpool, today 

MAIDENHEAD: BERKSHIRE: There were closed pumps at a Co-op Texaco garage in Maidenhead, Berkshire on Friday as the HGV shortage continues to bite

MAIDENHEAD: BERKSHIRE: There were closed pumps at a Co-op Texaco garage in Maidenhead, Berkshire on Friday as the HGV shortage continues to bite

MAIDENHEAD: BERKSHIRE: There were closed pumps at a Co-op Texaco garage in Maidenhead, Berkshire on Friday as the HGV shortage continues to bite








A graphic illustrating how the three issues are currently affecting the UK and the problems it is causing. The People's Energy Company (bottom, middle) is one of the energy suppliers that have already gone bust

A graphic illustrating how the three issues are currently affecting the UK and the problems it is causing. The People's Energy Company (bottom, middle) is one of the energy suppliers that have already gone bust

A graphic illustrating how the three issues are currently affecting the UK and the problems it is causing. The People’s Energy Company (bottom, middle) is one of the energy suppliers that have already gone bust

UK needs nearly TWO MILLION workers: Active job posts reveal bosses crying out for 55,019 care staff, 36, 471 chefs, and 32,615 sales assistants 

UK job advert numbers have reached the highest figure in at least a year, with almost two million positions currently being offered, newly released figures have revealed.

Job market data from September 13 to September 19 shows more than 220,000 new job adverts were posted, bringing the total number of active job adverts to 1.9million.

According to the figures, there were 36,000 new adverts appeared for chefs, around 32,000 for sales assistants and 6,500 for bar staff in that period.

The figures for hospitality jobs are likely to reflect the country opening back up in the wake of Covid-19 rules being lifted.

But the job advert figures also show more than 7,500 job adverts have been posted for HGV drivers in the UK in the last week. Some offer salaries upward of £50,000-a-year. 

The flurry of job adverts comes amid a shortage of lorry drivers across the UK.

The Road Haulage Association estimate the UK to be short of 100,000 HGV drivers. 

Here are the number of new job adverts posted in the UK from September 13 to September 19, according to data analysed by Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC):

Care workers: 55,019

Chefs: 36,471

Primary school teachers: 32,942 

Metal workers: 22,956

Cleaners: 28,220

HGV drivers: 7,513

Bar staff: 6,557

Sales assistants: 32,615

School secretaries: 2,678

Lollipop men and women: 2,478 

Postal workers: 2,251

*The figures are for jobs posted between September 13 – September 19. In total there are more than 1.9million active job adverts. 

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Meanwhile, one vegetable firm in Lincolnshire is currently advertising a broccoli picker role for £30-per-hour – equivalent to around £62,000-a-year. 

Nerves are growing in Downing Street over the prospect of a ‘winter of discontent’ – with Christmas potentially ruined by soaring energy bills, shortages and Universal Credit cuts. 

Ministers are said to have drawn up plans to put soldiers on standby in case they are required to drive petrol tankers in case of severe crisis. 

When questioned on BBC Breakfast, Mr Shapps said: ‘If it can actually help, we will bring them in.’ 

But he urged people not to panic buy, telling Sky News: ‘The advice would be to carry on as normal, and that’s what BP are saying as well.’

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said: ‘Families and businesses across the country are facing a looming cost of living crisis because of the government’s triple whammy of rising energy costs, tax rises and the cuts to Universal Credit. In addition supply chain disruption is harming businesses and hitting consumers in their pockets.

‘It is Government complacency that has left us in this exposed and vulnerable position. Ministers were warned about the risk of energy supplier failure and did nothing to prepare. They were warned about supply chain disruption and they sat on their hands.’

He added: ‘The Government pretends to be on the side of businesses and families but dismisses the concerns of businesses and is doubling down on decisions that will plunge families into deep financial difficulty and hardship ‘

Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds conceded that other countries were also experiencing shortages of HGV drivers.

‘I have to say, however, that there have been big failures in planning for this situation and the additional red tape that has been created, which was not inevitable, it was not an inevitable result of Brexit in many cases, but that hasn’t been tackled by Government,’ she said.

‘I talk to advanced manufacturers in my patch for example, and they tell me that now they have got to fill in dozens of pages of paperwork and that is quite a tall order for a HGV driver if they have got to be dealing with all of that, as well as getting goods from one place to another.

‘So undoubtedly the Government’s method of implementing Brexit has had an impact overall on the system, but there are other factors that are in play here.

‘And I think their failure to consider whether they need to ask that Migration Advisory Committee about a different approach to shortage occupations – I really do think they should be engaging with business on this and listening to them.’

UK Hospitality chief Kate Nicholls tweeted warning that narrow attempts to free up fuel supply chains will not be enough.

‘The HGV crisis is merely the most obvious and prominent sign of a labour market running too hot and too tightly – over 1 million vacancies across the economy and a 10% vacancy rate in hospitality impacting on ability to trade and -16% hit to revenues. We need broader measures,’ she said. 

It comes as Mr Eustice indicated that the government is preparing to extend a seasonal worker scheme to tackle labour shortages across food production. The scheme could also be extended to include other industries suffering from labour shortages. 

Yesterday BP said it will restrict deliveries of fuel because of a lack of HGV drivers, which has also impacted supermarkets and raised fears of food and even toy shortages over the Christmas period. 

The oil giant is understood to have informed the Government that its ability to transport petrol and diesel from its refineries is being heavily impacted by the supply chain crisis. 

BP’s Head of UK Retail, Hanna Hofer, told the Cabinet Office on Thursday last week that it was important that the Government understood the ‘urgency of the situation’ which she branded ‘bad, very bad’.

Ms Hofer warned that the company had ‘two thirds of normal forecourt stock levels required for smooth operations’ and that levels were ‘declining rapidly’. The restricting of deliveries is expected to begin ‘very soon’. 

Meanwhile, there have been reports of Tesco petrol stations closing or running out of fuel in Dorset, the Isle of Wight and Devon, however it is believed that the incidents of shortages are only affecting two sites. ExxonMobil, which operates Esso, added that some of its 200 Tesco Alliance sites were affected.

A Tesco spokesperson said supermarkets still had a ‘good availability of fuel, with deliveries arriving at our petrol filling stations across the UK every day.’ 

However one petrol station owner told BBC Radio 4 she had already run out of fuel once. Lisa Stevenson, owner of the Tolladine Service Station in Worcester, told the Today Programme: ‘My order was supposed to come on Thursday last week, it didn’t arrive. 

In a particularly unhelpful addition to the problem, eco-mob Insulate Britain returned to the roads on Friday to block off a route to Port of Dover - Europe's busiest port and the UK's main gateway for trade from the EU

In a particularly unhelpful addition to the problem, eco-mob Insulate Britain returned to the roads on Friday to block off a route to Port of Dover - Europe's busiest port and the UK's main gateway for trade from the EU

In a particularly unhelpful addition to the problem, eco-mob Insulate Britain returned to the roads on Friday to block off a route to Port of Dover – Europe’s busiest port and the UK’s main gateway for trade from the EU

A stacked up Asda garage in Brighton as the panic buying of fuel continued to escalate on Friday

A stacked up Asda garage in Brighton as the panic buying of fuel continued to escalate on Friday

A stacked up Asda garage in Brighton as the panic buying of fuel continued to escalate on Friday

READING: While it was misery from some petrol stations, this Esso petrol station in Emmer Green in Reading received a delivery of fuel this morning

Job market data from September 13 to September 19 shows firms in the UK need, in total, more than 36,000 chefs, around 32,000 sales assistants and 6,500 bar staff

Job market data from September 13 to September 19 shows firms in the UK need, in total, more than 36,000 chefs, around 32,000 sales assistants and 6,500 bar staff

Job market data from September 13 to September 19 shows firms in the UK need, in total, more than 36,000 chefs, around 32,000 sales assistants and 6,500 bar staff

UK job advert numbers have reached the highest figure in at least a year, with almost two million positions currently being offered, newly released figures have revealed. Pictured: A graph showing the number of job adverts being offered in the UK

UK job advert numbers have reached the highest figure in at least a year, with almost two million positions currently being offered, newly released figures have revealed. Pictured: A graph showing the number of job adverts being offered in the UK

UK job advert numbers have reached the highest figure in at least a year, with almost two million positions currently being offered, newly released figures have revealed. Pictured: A graph showing the number of job adverts being offered in the UK

LIVERPOOL: An out of use sign on a petrol pump at a BP garage on Speke Hall Road, Liverpool. The HGV driver shortage has hit oil giant BP with deliveries of petrol and diesel to forecourts across the UK set to be reduced








ELY: CAMBRIDGESHIRE: An aerial view of the queue of cars outside a Tesco petrol station in Ely, Cambridgeshire on Friday, as panic buying begins despite the Government saying there is 'no shortage of fuel in the UK'

ELY: CAMBRIDGESHIRE: An aerial view of the queue of cars outside a Tesco petrol station in Ely, Cambridgeshire on Friday, as panic buying begins despite the Government saying there is 'no shortage of fuel in the UK'

ELY: CAMBRIDGESHIRE: An aerial view of the queue of cars outside a Tesco petrol station in Ely, Cambridgeshire on Friday, as panic buying begins despite the Government saying there is ‘no shortage of fuel in the UK’

LIVERPOOL: Lines of queues at Tesco Extra, Kew, in Southport on Friday after BP announced yesterday it would be closing a handful of petrol stations due to the HGV crisis

LIVERPOOL: Lines of queues at Tesco Extra, Kew, in Southport on Friday after BP announced yesterday it would be closing a handful of petrol stations due to the HGV crisis

LIVERPOOL: Lines of queues at Tesco Extra, Kew, in Southport on Friday after BP announced yesterday it would be closing a handful of petrol stations due to the HGV crisis

ELY: CAMBRIDGESHIRE: Queues for fuel at the Tesco petrol station in Ely, Cambridgeshire, on Friday morning as the panic buying starts

‘My distributor said it would be delivered on Friday, he then phoned me back said ‘unfortunately we have a lack of drivers’ and that it won’t be delivered until Monday.’

Asked if she had run out of petrol at that point, she said: ‘We did indeed yes.’ Asked if it would happen again, she said: ‘Most definitely, as we come into the winter.’  

Meanwhile, at the Shell garage on A12 near Marks Tey, Essex, the forecourt was said to be completely out of diesel on Friday morning.

Further down the A12, at the BP garage at Rivenhall, near Kelvedon, Essex, cars were queuing three deep at every pump on Friday morning and staff at the garage said it was almost out of diesel.

They were hoping for a delivery today or tomorrow but were not sure if they would get one, and said they had never seen the garage as busy

‘People are definitely packing it in’, one driver said.

One woman in Surrey told the Sun she had witnessed an ‘old guy’ squeeze £2.65 worth of fuel into his tank ‘before it overflowed onto the floor’. 

Retailers have warned that significant disruption to Christmas preparations will be ‘inevitable’ unless the Government finds a solution to the HGV driver shortage in the next 10 days.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: ‘HGV drivers are the glue which hold our supply chains together.

‘Without them, we are unable to move goods from farms to warehouses to shops.

‘Currently, the UK faces a shortfall of around 90,000 HGV drivers and it is consumers who ultimately suffer the consequences.

‘Unless a solution can be found in the next 10 days, it is inevitable that we will see significant disruption in the run up to Christmas.’

However motorists and shoppers have been urged not to panic buy fuel and goods, with a Government spokeswoman saying: ‘There is no shortage of fuel in the UK, and people should continue to buy fuel as normal.’ 

Gerald Ronson, owner of almost 300 Rontec – BP, Texaco and forecourts across the country, told The Telegraph he expects fuel court disruption to last for more than four weeks.

He said: ‘With everybody coming back to work – more cars on the road because people don’t want to use buses or trains – this has drained a lot of fuel.’ 

The news is the latest sign of the UK struggling to cope because of an ongoing shortage of HGV drivers which comes alongside a worsening energy crisis.  

Mr Shapps said he hoped the issue would ‘smooth out very quickly’ after the Government introduced changes to tests. 

Are panic buyers already queuing up at your local petrol station? 

Or has your petrol station already run out of fuel and been forced to close? 

**Contact me with your pictures: james.robinson@mailonline.co.uk** 

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He told Sky News: ‘The problem is not new there’s been a lack of drivers actually for many months during this pandemic because as your report said during the lockdown drivers couldn’t be passed through their lorry/HGV tests and that’s what’s been the problem.

‘But many more tests are being made available now so we should see it smooth out very quickly.

On short term visas, he said: ‘I’ll look at everything we can and we’ll move heaven and earth to make sure shortages are alleviated.’ 

Meanwhile, he told BBC Radio 4 that former drivers were being offered huge salaries in order to entice them back to the industry.

He said: ‘A lot of people are coming into to the market, I don’t have to do that, salaries are doing that.

‘For example there’s a milk distributor, the largest one, offering £78,000 to drive a lorry. There’s a lot of additional pressure for drivers, and the market is responding by paying higher salaries.

‘But the principle bottleneck is making sure they can get tests.’

It comes as Avro Energy and Green yesterday became the latest energy firms to go out of business as soaring gas prices continued to batter the sector. 

Wholesale prices for gas have increased 250 per cent since the start of the year, and 70 per cent since August, meaning firms are buying energy for more than they sell it to customers.  

Nine firms have now ceased trading this year, with the head of regulator Ofgem warning more are likely to follow suit, leaving ‘well above’ hundreds of thousands of customers in limbo. 

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng yesterday suggested people should be hoping for a warm autumn to ease gas prices as he said the weather is the ‘single most important determinant’ of costs.

Food supply chains have been placed under intense stress in recent weeks because of the shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers – with empty shelves across many UK supermarkets as a result.

Supply chains were further disrupted after two plants that produce 60 per cent of the UK’s CO2 were shut down amid the rising gas prices. CO2 is used for everything from the humane slaughter of chickens and pigs, to putting the fizz in soft drinks and creating packaging that keeps foods fresh.  

Now, there are fears that shortages could bite households in the run-up to Christmas.  The classic Christmas dinner could be decimated, with turkey, pigs in blankets, potatoes and brussel sprouts all at risk. 

SAINSBURY'S: LONDON: Food supply chains have been placed under intense stress in recent weeks because of the shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers - with empty shelves across many UK supermarkets as a result. Pictured: A shortage of fruit at a Sainsbury's store in London on Friday

SAINSBURY'S: LONDON: Food supply chains have been placed under intense stress in recent weeks because of the shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers - with empty shelves across many UK supermarkets as a result. Pictured: A shortage of fruit at a Sainsbury's store in London on Friday

SAINSBURY’S: LONDON: Food supply chains have been placed under intense stress in recent weeks because of the shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers – with empty shelves across many UK supermarkets as a result. Pictured: A shortage of fruit at a Sainsbury’s store in London on Friday

TESCO: LONDON: Along with the potential of empty food shelves, toys, vinyl and books could also experience shortages - with experts even warning of Christmas tree issues. Gaps in the shelves of a Tesco freeze aisle in London

TESCO: LONDON: Along with the potential of empty food shelves, toys, vinyl and books could also experience shortages - with experts even warning of Christmas tree issues. Gaps in the shelves of a Tesco freeze aisle in London

TESCO: LONDON: Along with the potential of empty food shelves, toys, vinyl and books could also experience shortages – with experts even warning of Christmas tree issues. Gaps in the shelves of a Tesco freeze aisle in London

SAINSBURY'S: LONDON: Bottled water shelves in a Sainsbury's store in London were low on stock on Friday as the HGV driver crisis continues

SAINSBURY'S: LONDON: Bottled water shelves in a Sainsbury's store in London were low on stock on Friday as the HGV driver crisis continues

SAINSBURY’S: LONDON: Bottled water shelves in a Sainsbury’s store in London were low on stock on Friday as the HGV driver crisis continues 

TESCO: LONDON: A cleaner worker wipes an area of shelves of a cleaning aisle at a Tesco store in London today as the HGV driver shortage continues

TESCO: LONDON: A cleaner worker wipes an area of shelves of a cleaning aisle at a Tesco store in London today as the HGV driver shortage continues

TESCO: LONDON: A cleaner worker wipes an area of shelves of a cleaning aisle at a Tesco store in London today as the HGV driver shortage continues

TESCO: LONDON: One freezer area at a Tesco store in London was almost completely empty today as the HGV driver crisis continues to bite

TESCO: LONDON: One freezer area at a Tesco store in London was almost completely empty today as the HGV driver crisis continues to bite

TESCO: LONDON: One freezer area at a Tesco store in London was almost completely empty today as the HGV driver crisis continues to bite

Supply issue threatens Christmas: The classic Christmas dinner could be decimated, with turkey, pigs in blankets, potatoes and brussel sprouts all at risk by ongoing supply and distributions issues, as well as a potential CO2 crisis. Meanwhile, toys, vinyl and books could also experience shortages - with experts even warning of Christmas trees not being available

Supply issue threatens Christmas: The classic Christmas dinner could be decimated, with turkey, pigs in blankets, potatoes and brussel sprouts all at risk by ongoing supply and distributions issues, as well as a potential CO2 crisis. Meanwhile, toys, vinyl and books could also experience shortages - with experts even warning of Christmas trees not being available

Supply issue threatens Christmas: The classic Christmas dinner could be decimated, with turkey, pigs in blankets, potatoes and brussel sprouts all at risk by ongoing supply and distributions issues, as well as a potential CO2 crisis. Meanwhile, toys, vinyl and books could also experience shortages – with experts even warning of Christmas trees not being available








More than 500,000 over-50s have withdrawn from UK labour market since Covid, says employment expert

More than 500,000 over-50s have withdrawn from the UK labour market since the start of the Covid pandemic, according to an employment expert.

The sudden withdrawal of hundreds of thousands of staff, plus a drop in the number of migrant workers and an increase in the number of students has led to record numbers of job vaccancies, according to Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘It’s right (that there are fewer workers around). The labour market is much smaller than it was before the pandemic began.

‘We estimate that there is about a million fewer people in the labour market now than there were before the crisis began and probably about a quarter of that is explained by lower migration and that’s mainly lower immigration since the pandemic rather than higher emigration.

‘About 500,000 of that is explained by more people over 50 who have withdrawn from the labour market. That’s compared with what we would have expected to happen, because over 50s employment and labour market participation has been growing for decades, but that growth has now reversed.

‘So it’s about half a million is explained by over 50s, while 300,000 is explained by young people in full time education – so more young people more in education.’

‘And there is a little bit which is furlough, which is ending next week, but it looks like that may only be between 200,000-300,000 workers, so it could be around one million workers.’ 

Asked what the sudden spike in over-50s dropping from the labour market, he said: ‘It’s a combination of factors. A lot will be the pandemic. It will be people who will have been furloughed, who have taken time away from the labour market and simply aren’t returning.

‘Some of it will be people who feel they can’t go back to work, they may have been shielding for example and may come back in the future.’ 

 

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The Government’s seasonal worker scheme could be extended and its focus ‘changed’ as part of a plan to tackle labour shortages in food production.

Mr Eustice has indicated that the government is preparing to extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) this year to help tackle the UK’s HGV crisis.

Mr Eustice also said ministers were looking at ‘changing the focus’ of the scheme to push for more HGV drivers.

The scheme is mainly used by seasonal workers who are picking fruit and vegetables in the UK. 

Speaking at the Balmoral Show in Northern Ireland, he said there was ‘an acute labour shortage at the moment right across the UK economy’. 

He also said the government would be trying to encourage EU workers with settled status to return to the UK.

One thing that might entice workers to take up vegetable picking is a boost in salaries.

H Clements and Son Ltd, based in Boston, Lincs posted one job advert calling for broccoli pickers – who they say can earn up to £30-per-hour.

This works out at £240-per-day or £1,200-per-week. The monthly pay for doing it full-time is £4,800 and an annual salary of £62,400-a-year – based on an average working week.

The job advert reads: ‘We are looking for Field Operatives to harvest our broccoli. Excellent piecework with potential to earn up to £30-per-hour. All year round work available.’

Along with the potential of empty food shelves, toys, vinyl and books could also experience shortages – with experts even warning of Christmas tree issues. 

Despite the Government agreeing a deal to restart production at the CO2 plants, industry bodies have warned that consumers may still see a hike in food prices, particularly if the cost of carbon dioxide rises. 

The Government’s deal with CF Industries is only in place for three weeks – leading to fears that the issues could start up again in the run-up to the festive period. 

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman insisted there is no shortage of fuel and urged people to continue to fill up their vehicles ‘as normal’. 

The spokesman stressed the UK has ‘very resilient and robust’ supply chains, but the admission of challenges ahead is likely to spark fears of potential disruption. 

Asked if Boris Johnson is concerned at petrol station closures, the PM’s spokesman said: ‘I think the first thing to say is that there is no shortage of fuel in the UK and people should continue to buy fuel as normal.

‘We obviously recognise the challenges faced by the industry and are taking steps to support them.

‘You will be aware DfT recently announced that they are streamlining the process for HGV drivers and have increased the number of tests that they have made available.

‘But obviously we will work closely with industry, we recognise there are issues that many are facing. This is a problem that many countries around the world are tackling.’

Asked if the PM accepts the UK is facing a tough winter, the spokesman said: ‘We acknowledge there are issues facing many industries across the UK and not just in terms of HGV drivers but we have obviously seen the increase in wholesale gas.

‘That is why you have seen Kwasi Kwarteng speaking and working incredibly closely with industry over the course of this week and we will continue to do so.’

The spokesman said the fuel and food sectors have a ‘very resilient and robust supply chain’ and people should continue to shop as normal.  

A BP spokesman said today: ‘We are experiencing some fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK and unfortunately have therefore seen a handful of sites temporarily close due to a lack of both unleaded and diesel grades. 

‘These have been caused by some delays in the supply chain which has been impacted by the industry-wide driver shortages across the UK and there are many actions being taken to address the issue. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggested adding HGV drivers to the skilled worker list for immigration purposes would not solve the problem, although he insisted he nothing had been ruled out

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggested adding HGV drivers to the skilled worker list for immigration purposes would not solve the problem, although he insisted he nothing had been ruled out

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggested adding HGV drivers to the skilled worker list for immigration purposes would not solve the problem, although he insisted he nothing had been ruled out

Agricutlure Secretary George Eustice has indicated that the government is preparing to extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) this year to help tackle the UK's HGV crisis

Agricutlure Secretary George Eustice has indicated that the government is preparing to extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) this year to help tackle the UK's HGV crisis

Agricutlure Secretary George Eustice has indicated that the government is preparing to extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) this year to help tackle the UK’s HGV crisis

T H Clements and Son Ltd, based in Boston, Lincs posted one job advert that read: "We are looking for Field Operatives to harvest our Cabbages' The job is advertised at up to £30-per-hour

T H Clements and Son Ltd, based in Boston, Lincs posted one job advert that read: "We are looking for Field Operatives to harvest our Cabbages' The job is advertised at up to £30-per-hour

T H Clements and Son Ltd, based in Boston, Lincs posted one job advert that read: ‘We are looking for Field Operatives to harvest our Cabbages’ The job is advertised at up to £30-per-hour

According to the Road Haulage Association (RHA) the UK is short of around 100,000 HGV drivers. In a survey earlier this year the RHA asked drivers what was behind the shortage. Brexit came out on top, joint with drivers retiring. Pay and conditions were also among the reasons for drivers leaving, along with issues surrounding the Covid pandemic

According to the Road Haulage Association (RHA) the UK is short of around 100,000 HGV drivers. In a survey earlier this year the RHA asked drivers what was behind the shortage. Brexit came out on top, joint with drivers retiring. Pay and conditions were also among the reasons for drivers leaving, along with issues surrounding the Covid pandemic

According to the Road Haulage Association (RHA) the UK is short of around 100,000 HGV drivers. In a survey earlier this year the RHA asked drivers what was behind the shortage. Brexit came out on top, joint with drivers retiring. Pay and conditions were also among the reasons for drivers leaving, along with issues surrounding the Covid pandemic

‘We continue to work with our haulier supplier to minimise any future disruption and to ensure efficient and effective deliveries to serve our customers. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.’

The planned restrictions will mean running 80% of services levels to 90% of BP’s forecourt network and that most locations, as a result, will not be restocked for one-and-a-half days a week.

However petrol stations on motorways will be prioritised and restocked as normal.

Seasonal worker scheme ‘could tackle food labour problem’ 

The Government’s seasonal worker scheme could be extended and its focus ‘changed’ as part of a plan to tackle labour shortages in food production.

Agricutlure Secretary George Eustice has indicated that the government is preparing to extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) this year to help tackle the UK’s HGV crisis.

Mr Eustice also said ministers were looking at ‘changing the focus’ of the scheme to push for more HGV drivers.

The scheme is mainly used by seasonal workers who are picking fruit and vegetables in the UK. 

Speaking at the Balmoral Show in Northern Ireland, he said there was ‘an acute labour shortage at the moment right across the UK economy’. 

He also said the government would be trying to encourage EU workers with settled status to return to the UK.

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Like hundreds of firms across the country, BP is struggling amid the shortage of truck drivers. 

The company outsources drivers through haulier firm Hoyer, and while it has 45 drivers coming through training, it is struggling to keep hold of them. 

In the week beginning September 6, for example, 10 drivers joined and six left. 

While BP hopes stocks will stabilise at some point in October, Ms Hofer warned: ‘We are are expecting the next few weeks to be really, really difficult’. 

It is now calling on the Government to make it easier to recruit drivers from abroad. 

Meanwhile, eco-mob Insulate Britain today made matters even worse, with an unhelpful protest at the Port of Dover this morning.

More than 40 activists across two groups have blocked the A20 road in Kent which provides access to the Port of Dover.

The port is the busiest ferry port in Europe and is the UK’s main gateway for trade from the EU. 

A spokesperson for Insulate Britain outlined why the group, which wants the Government to insulate and retrofit homes across the UK, blocked Europe’s busiest ferry port on Friday morning.

They said: ‘We are blocking Dover this morning to highlight that fuel poverty is killing people in Dover and across the UK.

‘We need a Churchillian response: We must tell the truth about the urgent horror of the climate emergency. Change at the necessary speed and scale requires economic disruption.

‘We wish it wasn’t true, but it is. It’s why the 2000 fuel protests got a U-turn in policy and gave Blair his biggest challenge as Prime Minister.’

The spokesperson added: ‘We are sorry for the disruption that we are causing. It seems to be the only way to keep the issue of insulation on the agenda and to draw attention to how poorly insulated homes are causing ill health, misery and early death for many thousands of people.

‘We are failing the country’s cold hungry families and the elderly and placing an enormous burden on the NHS.

‘Insulating our leaky homes is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon emissions and it has all these additional benefits – reducing fuel poverty, creating jobs, reducing the burden on the NHS and protecting people from overheating during future heat waves. It’s a no-brainer. Boris just needs to get on with the job.’

Protest group Insulate Britain say more than 40 supporters across two groups have blocked the A20 road in Kent which provides access to the Port of Dover

Protest group Insulate Britain say more than 40 supporters across two groups have blocked the A20 road in Kent which provides access to the Port of Dover

Protest group Insulate Britain say more than 40 supporters across two groups have blocked the A20 road in Kent which provides access to the Port of Dover

The port is the busiest ferry port in Europe and is the UK's main gateway for trade from the EU

The port is the busiest ferry port in Europe and is the UK's main gateway for trade from the EU

The port is the busiest ferry port in Europe and is the UK’s main gateway for trade from the EU








HGV driver shortage caused by Brexit and Covid pandemic

The well-documented shortage of lorry drivers has created gaps on supermarket shelves.

Britain is currently facing its own 100,000 shortfall of HGV drivers, which retail bosses have partly blamed on changes to migration rules post-Brexit and EU employees returning home.

The Road Haulage Association said the total number of people in the UK with HGV licences this summer is 516,000.

But the latest Department for Transport data shows 278,700 HGV drivers were employed in 2020, equivalent to 54 per cent of the total.

They put the shortage largely down to Brexit and the pandemic, which led to 14,000 European drivers going home and just 600 of those returning.

Since last year, the industry has also seen large numbers of drivers retiring, while lockdown has hit the training of new drivers with 40,000 HGV driver tests cancelled.

The average age of a UK lorry driver is put at 56 to 57 and not enough young people have joined the industry due to its long hours, unattractive conditions and poor pay.

Drivers’ median hourly pay has risen 10 per cent since 2015 to £11.80 – below the 16 per cent average across other sectors, with new tax changes also not in their favour.

Lorry drivers can only drive for nine hours each day, but many are away from home up to 15 hours a day – putting off many young people who do not want such hours.

Last week, Tesco drivers and warehouse workers at four distribution centres rejected the offer of a 2.5% pay increase.

If members vote for strike action then the supermarket giant could see empty shelves this winter which could potentially affect the Christmas period.

Unite said its members voted against a 2.5 per cent offer, arguing it was lower than the RPI rate of inflation so represented a real-terms pay cut.

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It comes as social media users claim their local BP garages were out of fuel this week. 

‘No petrol on Monday 20th,’ wrote one, ‘Assistant did not know when they would get any and fed up of abuse from angry would be customers.’

Another added: ‘I suggest you come to Kent, my two local petrol stations have no petrol (but I think one has diesel).’

Another simply said: ‘My local garage, no petrol, no drivers…’ 

Minister for small business, Paul Scully told ITV News: ‘We are concerned about BP and other sectors where we are hearing those stresses coming to bear.

‘This is why we are having regular conversations to see what government can do to increase testing, to increase the supply of drivers and bring drivers back.  We also want to see what the industry/ sector can do for themselves.’

Trade association Logistics UK has called on ministers to provide up to 10,000 temporary work visas for trained EU drivers to paper over the cracks.

The Government has so far rejected these calls, instead insisting firms recruit from a pool of British workers.

It comes as shorter, fast-track HGV tests have been mooted as a potential solution to help plug the spiralling vacancies in the haulier industry.

Industry experts say better pay and improved working conditions are needed to help improve staffing levels – and put the shortage largely down to Brexit and the pandemic, which led to 14,000 European drivers going home and just 600 of those returning.

The Road Haulage Association said the total number of people in the UK with HGV licences this summer was 516,000. 

But the latest Department for Transport data shows 278,700 HGV drivers were employed in 2020, equivalent to 54 per cent of the total.

It comes as it was more than 500,000 over-50s have withdrawn from the UK labour market since the start of the Covid pandemic, an employment expert today revealed.

The sudden withdrawal of hundreds of thousands of staff, plus a drop in the number of migrant workers and an increase in the number of students has led to record numbers of job vaccancies, according to Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘It’s right (that there are fewer workers around). The labour market is much smaller than it was before the pandemic began.

‘We estimate that there is about a million fewer people in the labour market now than there were before the crisis began and probably about a quarter of that is explained by lower migration and that’s mainly lower immigration since the pandemic rather than higher emigration.

‘About 500,000 of that is explained by more people over 50 who have withdrawn from the labour market. That’s compared with what we would have expected to happen, because over 50s employment and labour market participation has been growing for decades, but that growth has now reversed.

‘So it’s about half a million is explained by over 50s, while 300,000 is explained by young people in full time education – so more young people more in education.

‘And there is a little bit which is furlough, which is ending next week, but it looks like that may only be between 200,000-300,000 workers, so it could be around one million workers.’ 

Asked what the sudden spike in over-50s dropping from the labour market, he said: ‘It’s a combination of factors. A lot will be the pandemic. It will be people who will have been furloughed, who have taken time away from the labour market and simply aren’t returning.

‘Some of it will be people who feel they can’t go back to work, they may have been shielding for example and may come back in the future.’ 

Asda and Sainsbury’s food distributor goes BUST leaving 1,000 workers unemployed amid HGV driver chaos 

A private equity-backed haulage firm specialising in chilled food deliveries to Asda and Sainsbury’s has gone bust, adding to concerns about gaps on shelves as Britain heads for a ‘winter of discontent’. 

EVCL Chill, a subsidiary of EV Cargo, filed for administration yesterday, adding to speculation that the two supermarkets will need to take-over the business to safeguard deliveries.

The company had a number of major contracts for supermarkets and employed around 1,000 workers in warehousing and HGV driving roles. 

It comes amid worry that Britain will be faced with severe food shortages this winter due to a lack of lorry drivers and an ongoing energy crisis.

EVCL Chill operated depots in Penrith, Rochdale, Crick, Alfreton, Daventry and Bristol, and employed around 1,000 workers serving many of the nation’s Sainsbury’s and Asda supermarkets. 

EVCL Chill was responsible for delivering 10,000 pallets of food and drink a day into the two retailers, who according to The Grocer have been in talks with administrator PwC for several weeks in a bid to safeguard a significant proportion of their chilled operations. 

Unite the union, which has over 500 members at the company, is seeking to ensure that the workers employed directly on the Asda and Sainsbury’s contract will be transferred to work directly for the supermarkets as part of a rescue package.

It is owned by venture capitalists Emergevest which, as a separate company, will avoid picking up the cost of the collapse, such as redundancy payments.

Unite national officer Matt Draper said: ‘The collapse of EVCL Chill at a time when there is huge demand for lorry drivers in particular, further calls into question the role and involvement of venture capitalists in UK industry.

Sainsbury’s said it is putting in place measures to secure deliveries.

A spokesman said: ‘We are in close contact with EVCL Chill Ltd. We have continuity plans in place to ensure operations continue to run smoothly and are confident customers will be able to buy what they need when they shop with us.’

The news came just hours after several of Britain’s largest retailers warned ministers they have just 10 days to save Christmas from ‘significant disruption’ due to the lack of HGV drivers.  

 

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WHERE ARE ALL THE £30 LIMIT PETROL STATIONS? 

Source: The Sun 

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