Ministers will meet to unveil plans to suspend competition law and discuss the implementation of Operation Escaline. This can mean bringing in the Army.
It followed the announcement that the government was relaxing the rules of the HGV test in the hope that it would provide a solution to the energy and supply crisis.
How does the scheme work?
The package has two main elements. To speed up the process of HGV testing and bring more UK workers into the industry, and to issue short-term visas for foreign drivers to work temporarily in the UK.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) HGV examiner usually checks whether military members can drive trucks and heavy trucks and is seconded to the Driver License Agency (DVLA) for 12 weeks. The intent is to reduce the backlog of 40,000 tests that have been prepared but not yet done.
At the same time, 5,000 truck drivers from outside the UK can apply for visas to work here until the end of the year. This could increase the labor supply for a limited time. And one million people who are eligible to drive HGV but are not currently driving will receive the letter.
Does it make any difference?
I don’t know yet. European carriers have said they are skeptical of the influx of drivers into the UK, and it is not yet clear whether everyone waiting to take the HGV test will soon start working in the industry.
Most people who have a license but no driver is probably doing other work and may not want to return to the previous industry, but only 2% responded positively. If so, it can have a big impact on the problem.
What will happen this week?
The purpose of the government was to prevent people from hoarding gasoline and panic by assuring the public that a solution to the problem was at hand. However, there is no concrete proposal to increase the supply of gasoline in the very short term. For example, ask a MoD driver to work with a private sector in the coming days.
How many drivers do you still need?
Even with 40,000 powerful test backlogs fully processed and all 5,000 visas obtained, the number of HGV drivers working in the UK is somewhat less than industry leaders think they need.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimates that a total of 100,000 drivers are in short supply. This means that government action can only be half as good as solving the problem.
Do you have enough fuel?
Yes – There is no shortage of gasoline worldwide. The Gasoline Retailers Association asserts that the only problem is the lack of HGV drivers to transfer fuel from refineries to gas stations. Once the HGV problem is resolved, there is no reason to think that there will be a shortage of forecoats in the future.
Are there any shortages for Christmas?
Is possible. The UK supply chain is complex and fragile, and retailers have already begun to increase inventories in anticipation of the holiday season. Ministers are particularly concerned about the shortage of turkeys.