Only 127 overseas fuel drivers have applied for temporary visas introduced to address fuel shortages across the UK, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
300 immediate visas until the end of March are currently being offered to foreign tanker drivers by the government to deliver fuel to the nation’s forecourts, many of which are continuing to run dry.
Speaking in an interview with BBC Breakfast, Mr Johnson labelled the lack of applications “fascinating illustration of the problem,” which he insisted was a global issue with many countries around the world experiencing a similar shortage of drivers.
According to Transport Intelligence, Poland is currently 124,000 drivers short while Germany faces a shortage of between 45,000 and 60,000.
The government is also offering an additional 4,700 temporary visas in total for foreign food lorry drivers, which will last from late in October to the end of February.
The prime minister also rubbished claims that the issue had anything to do with Brexit.
When asked if the country was in crisis, Mr Johnson said: “I think that on the contrary, what you are seeing with the UK economy and indeed the global economy is very largely in the supply chains the stresses and strains you would expect from a giant waking up and that is what is happening.
“It’s really a big turning point (the labour shortage) for the UK and an opportunity for us to go in a different direction.
“What I won’t do is go back to the old failed model of low wages, low skills, supported by uncontrolled immigration.
“What you saw in the last 20 years or more, almost 25 years, has been an approach whereby business of many kinds, was able to mainline low wage, low cost, immigration for a very long time.”
Image source: iNews.