Sir Keir Starmer has called on the government to take “emergency measures to control” the shortage of heavy vehicle drivers that is causing fuel and food shortages.
The Labor leader said the prime minister needs to deploy the 150 army drivers now on standby at filling stations across the UK after an independent group of fuel retailers warned that more than a quarter of their Member gas stations are still empty.
He wants the government to ask gas stations to extend their opening hours to help NHS shift workers and other critical personnel.
Sir Keir has also called on Boris Johnson to withdraw from parliament so short-term visas can be issued for drivers from Europe now to ensure there is a plan in place to secure supply chains during the winter.
The Labor leader wants the prime minister to hold an emergency summit with the trucking industry, training providers, affected business groups, government ministers and transport unions “to focus on the immediate crisis and eventually , address the payment, conditions, training, licensing and conditions of drivers. “
Sir Keir said the problem of the driver shortage will keep coming back in different sectors if it is not solved and he did not want “the people of this country to have another Christmas ruined by the lack of planning of this prime minister.”
He also said that the short-term visa scheme announced by the government will not be in operation for weeks, so the first drivers of heavy vehicles would only be on the roads in November.
“The prime minister should take emergency measures today, but once again he has failed to understand the severity of the crisis,” added Sir Keir.
“If you need legislation, let us remember that the parliament urgently passes these emergency measures.
“The prime minister promised to save Christmas last year and we all know it went terribly wrong.
“Now he’s making the same empty promises again. Boris Johnson was warned about this crisis and did nothing about it.
“He had the opportunity to make a plan, but he ignored it. The prime minister needs to control it.”
On Thursday, Government Minister Simon Clarke said the fuel crisis was under control and that more fuel was being delivered than was being taken out, but some regions still experience long lines and closed pumps as drivers cannot get enough. fuel.
He asked motorists to revert to normal fuel buying patterns and said that would solve the problem.