Military drivers have been called upon to help deliver fuel to petrol stations amid nationwide panic-buying and shortages. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The men and women of our armed forces stand ready to alleviate the transport pressures where they are felt most.
“That is why I have authorised their increased preparedness so they are ready to respond if needed.”
Ministers also revealed on Monday that drivers from the army will receive specialised training in preparation of their possible deployment.
The news comes as health chiefs warn the ongoing fuel crisis could prevent NHS staff from going to work.
The British Medical Association and Royal College of Nursing have both claimed petrol shortages could impact healthcare workers.
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The BMA said there is a “real risk NHS staff won’t be able to do their jobs”.
A representative from the GMB trade union has suggested petrol must now be prioritised for workers in the NHS and other emergency services.
The union’s national officer Rachel Harrison said: “During this completely avoidable crisis, petrol must be prioritised for those key workers who save lives and keep the country moving.”
Christina McAnea, UNISON’s general secretary, echoed the suggestion the UK could prioritise petrol purchases by profession when she said: “Ambulance crews, nurses, care workers, teaching assistants, police staff and other key workers mustn’t be left stranded or forced to queue for hours simply to get to a pump.”
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“The ability of staff and pupils to get to school may be compromised and there may also be issues with our food deliveries.
“We sincerely hope that it won’t be the case, but if it becomes necessary to temporarily move to online learning, we will consider this as an option.
“Clearly, we have no desire to go back online so soon after the challenges of the last couple of years, but we cannot exclude the possibility that it may be necessary.
“We will, of course, closely monitor the situation and will keep you fully informed.”