Speaking at the Conservative party's annual conference, Mr Johnson emphasised that the government had requested names of foreign drivers who wanted to come to the UK from the road haulage industry, but only 127 had been sent so far.

The prime minister claimed that a harsh winter with the fuel crisis, shortages on supermarket shelves and skyrocketing energy prices were symptoms of the country's economic course, which would address long-term productivity issues, low salaries and underinvestment in energy and infrastructure.

The impact on fuel:

A shortage of between 200 and 500 trained tanker drivers to distribute from fully supplied refineries and ports has been one of the main causes of the fuel shortages.

When BP published a mostly generic statement confirming the temporary closure of a number of petrol station forecourts on the afternoon of Thursday 23rd September after they ran out of unleaded and diesel fuel, it was quickly followed by efforts to reassure customers that everything was fine.

Fuel demand was still 8% below pre-pandemic levels, according to the Petrol Retailers Association, which represents two-thirds of service station operators and any problems were likely to be short-lived. Meanwhile, Paul Scully, the minister for small companies, remarked on the radio, "There is no need for people to panic-buy."

The petrol shortage has improved slightly, with more forecourts in London and south-east England restocking with fuel. Petrol dealers said that the employment of military drivers had helped, but that further assistance is needed to restore regular supply levels.

Armed forces personnel assisted in the crisis by driving fuel lorries, which included replenishing a petrol station in Waltham Abbey.

Slaughtering of Pigs:

Farmers have also been compelled to slaughter healthy pigs due to a lack of abattoir personnel to butcher them as a result of the supply chain issue.

On British farms, the murder of healthy pigs has begun, with producers obliged to kill animals to make space and maintain the welfare of their livestock, despite a continuing shortage of slaughterhouse staff.

Pig farmers have been reporting for weeks that abattoir labour shortages have resulted in a backlog of up to 120,000 pigs left on farms long after they should have been slaughtered.

According to Zoe Davies, the chief executive of the National Pigs Association, about 600 pigs have been killed on farms across the UK and culling has begun on a "handful" of farms.

Because the corpses cannot be classified as appropriate for consumption, industry analysts predict that they will be transformed into biodiesel and other non-food products.

The majority of pigs slaughtered on farms are likely to be sent to rendering mills in the United Kingdom. Rendering separates the fat from the meat and bones, allowing the goods to be utilised as pet food and animal feed. However, because the pigs will die on the farm rather than at slaughterhouses, they will not be certified for human consumption and will thus be excluded from the food chain.

Other businesses affected:

Nestle has become the latest victim of the supply chain issue, stating that it is "working hard" to assure the availability of Quality Street boxes this Christmas.

The Lion Bar and Kit Kat manufacturers have been impacted by the current chronic HGV driver scarcity, which has resulted in bare supermarket shelves and fuel shortages at forecourts.

Nestle's CEO, Mark Schneider, stated that the business is working hard to ensure that its most popular Christmas delicacies would be available to Britons this winter.

What are the current proposed solutions?

The food and drink industry in the United Kingdom has previously urged the government to create a "Covid-19 recovery visa" to help hire international workers and temporarily alleviate food supply chain disruptions.

HGV drivers, butchers, cooks and other food industry professionals would be able to be hired under a one-year visa suggested by trade organisations representing all parts of the UK food chain.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says, “businesses needed to do more to end the fuel and goods shortages that have afflicted the country by raising wages, improving working conditions and training Britons to drive trucks and do other hard-to-fill jobs”.

The prime minister reiterated that the interruption would be brief, but that it was part of the shift to provide more workers with better pay and conditions, stating that drivers often had to "urinate in bushes" because the sector did not appreciate their labour.

Mr Johnson found time in his speech to reaffirm his party's central message for the party conference: that the current supply chain issue is a necessary transition to a higher-skilled, higher-paying economy.

Resources:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/oct/05/pigs-culled-amid-uk-shortage-abattoir-workers https://inews.co.uk/news/long-reads/petrol-crisis-supplies-hgv-driver-shortage-brexit-political-denial-panic-fuel-explained-1231506 https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2021/oct/05/uk-new-car-sales-september-services-companies-economy-stock-markets-shortages-imf-business-live https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/oct/05/boris-johnson-says-shortages-are-result-of-giant-waking-up-of-economy https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/nestle-quality-street-supply-christmas-b1933823.html