Updated: Oct 3, 2021
The fuel crisis which has left many without petrol and emergency services unable to function properly is not a ‘national emergency’, according to a Government advisor.
GMB Union had written to the Department for Transport calling for taxis to be classed as an essential service as the sector - which transports patients to hospital and children to school - crumbles under the fuel crisis.
In reply, a policy advisor said: “We’ve been advised that at this time the government is not implementing the prioritisation of fuel via the National Emergency Plan for Fuel as we are not in a national emergency.”
As of Monday, soldiers will start delivering fuel to petrol stations as ministers now look to gain control over the ongoing supply issues.
Senior Government sources confirmed that on Saturday the Army will be fully trained to deliver fuel to forecourts, as fuel shortages continue to bite hard in several areas across the UK despite the Government claiming the situation was ‘stabilising’.
Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said: “The country is grinding to a halt; millions of people can’t get petrol, nurses and emergency service workers can’t get to patients and Christmas is halfway to being cancelled.
“If this isn’t a national emergency what is?
“The Conservatives have been in power for 11 years and done nothing to prevent this crisis. They’ve been asleep at the wheel.
"Instead of ‘taking back control’, the Prime Minister is losing control and working people are paying the price yet again for his failures.”
Steve McNamara, the General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Driver's Association (LTDA), has also repeatedly called for taxi drivers to be added to an emergency workers list to access dwindling fuel stocks. Diesel and petrol shortages in and around the capital has meant as much as 25 to 30 per cent of LTDA members were unable to work during parts of the crisis.
The trade leader spoke to BBC Radio 4's Today programme calling for the Government to bring in designated emergency forecourts for critical workers to "take the sting out of the crisis".
McNamara went on to add that "a taxi driver without fuel is unemployed".
The Mayor of London, licensed taxi representatives and private hire leaders have all lobbied the Government to ensure the sector is included on any emergency fuel register should the fuel crisis worsen.
Speaking on Radio 4 McNamara added "the Government policy at the moment of simply hoping it's going to go away is just not realistic".