express– British troops will be deployed across the country as part of Operation Escalin. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted that the crisis is coming under control and that panic buying at forecourts is abating. However, industry leaders warn that London and the southeast of the nation are still badly affected by the crisis.
In the southeast of England, more than one in five petrol stations are out of fuel.
Calls have been made to offer more visas to HGV drivers from Europe.
Mr Johnson has rejected this in favour of training more domestic drivers.
He said: “The way forward for our country is not to just pull the big lever marked ‘uncontrolled immigration’ and allow in huge numbers of people.”
The Prime Minister warned there would be empty shelves in supermarkets in the run-up to Christmas.
This will be inflated by the economy being in a period of transition due to the effects of coronavirus and Brexit.
In a BBC interview, Mr Johnson was asked if there will be food shortages in supermarkets this Christmas.
He said: “Rishi is invariably right in everything he says.”
Then he added: “It depends how you interpret what he is saying.”
The Prime Minister was quizzed as to whether he had taken seriously a warning in June by the Road Haulage Association.
The organisation had repeatedly raised alerts that a major crisis was building due to the shortage of drivers.
Mr Johnson replied that he had known about the problems long before then.
To address shortages in the industry the Government has agreed to grant 5,000 temporary visas to lorry drivers.
There will also be a further 5,000 temporary visas offered to poultry workers to try to address shortages in those industries.
The fuel crisis is still severe and Government ministers have been shown projections suggesting that petrol stations across most of England had average stock levels below 20 percent.
This is enough fuel supply for just one to two days of normal operations.