Why ministers hope easing rules for heavy-duty testing will help solve the oil crisis
The ministers have revealed their intention to suspend competition law and will meet to discuss the implementation of Operation Escalin – which could mean the arrival of the military.
It follows news that the government is relaxing heavy truck testing rules in hopes it will provide a solution to the energy and delivery crisis.
How will the scheme work?
The package has two main elements: speeding up the processing of heavy goods vehicle tests to attract more UK workers into the industry and issuing short-term visas to foreign drivers to work temporarily in the UK.
The Department of Defense (MoD) heavy truck examiners, who typically check whether members of the armed forces are able to drive trucks and trucks, are seconded to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for 12 weeks. The intention is to reduce the backlog of 40,000 tests that have been organized but have not yet taken place.
At the same time, 5,000 truck drivers from outside the UK will be able to apply for visas to work here until the end of the year, which could give a time-limited boost to the labor supply. -work. And 1 million people who are qualified to drive a heavy truck, but are not currently doing so, will receive a letter.
Will it make a difference?
It remains to be seen. European carriers have said they are skeptical of a rush of drivers into the UK, and it is not yet clear whether anyone waiting to take a heavy truck test will immediately start working in the industry. .
Most of those who are licensed but do not work as drivers are likely to have other jobs and may not want to return to their old industry – but if only 2% answered positively it could significantly reduce the problem. .
What’s going on this week?
The government’s goal has been to prevent people from panicking into buying gasoline, assuring the public that a solution to the problem is now underway. But there are no concrete proposals to increase the gasoline supply to the forecourt in the very short term, for example by asking the drivers of the MoD to work with private companies in the coming days.
How many pilots will we still need?
Even if the testing backlog of 40,000 people is fully exhausted and all 5,000 visas are used up, the number of HGV drivers working in the UK will still be far from what industry executives believe are needed.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimates there is a shortage of 100,000 drivers in total, which means the government’s actions may only help half of solving the problem.
Is there enough fuel?
Yes, there is no global gasoline shortage, and the Petrol Retailers Association is adamant that the only problem is a shortage of truck drivers to transfer fuel from refineries to service stations. If the heavy goods vehicle problem is solved, there is no reason to believe that forecourt will be lacking in the future.
Will there be shortages over Christmas?
It’s possible. UK supply chains are complex and fragile, and retailers are already starting to stock up in anticipation of the holiday season. Ministers are particularly concerned about a shortage of turkeys.