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Oil giant BP temporarily closes forecourts in Britain due to shortage of lorry drivers

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By Euronews
BP petrol station in London
BP petrol station in London   -   Copyright  Euronews

Oil giant BP said on Thursday it had temporarily closed some of its UK petrol stations because of a shortage of lorry drivers. 

The company had similar disruption problems in July and it says the issue isn't a shortage of diesel and petrol but the lack of trucks to get the fuel to the forecourts.

The move comes as the UK also struggles to keep supermarket shelves stocked. Tesco, the country's biggest supermarket chain, told the British government it had a shortfall of 800 drivers.

Both the shortage of HGV drivers and the shortages of labour in-store have prompted concerns about panic buying, especially as companies are preparing for the run-up to Christmas.

Cash bonuses for new drivers

British media reported that Tesco’s head of distribution warned the government that there was a risk of panic buying in ahead of Christmas.  

“Our concern is that the pictures of empty shelves will get 10 times worse by Christmas and then we’ll get panic buying,” the Tesco executive was quoted as saying. 

Euronews’ UK correspondent Tadhg Enright says fears of prolonged food and fuel shortages are real.

Tesco is one of several big companies in the UK which are offering incentives to try and get more drivers to work for them, including £1000 cash bonuses for new drivers recruited, he explained. 

This is not the only supermarket making such warnings. However while the government is pushing truck driving employers to try harder in finding Britons to fill their truck driving vacancies, industry leaders have called on the UK government to relax immigration rules to allow them to recruit from overseas.