Boris Johnson has pledged the Conservatives will “change and improve” the economy after the pandemic, as the party opens its annual conference in Manchester later.
The PM said the country cannot “go back to how things were” before Covid.
He has accused the haulage industry of being too reliant on low-paid immigration, amid shortages at petrol stations.
The military is due to begin delivering petrol across the UK from Monday.
Two hundred military servicemen and women, 100 of them drivers, will provide “temporary” support to ease pressure on forecourts.
The government has also announced 5,000 temporary visas for foreign lorry drivers to plug a shortage of lorry drivers worsened by Covid, Brexit and other factors.
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Although the industry and opposition parties have dismissed these figures as inadequate, Mr Johnson has said importing drivers is not a long-term solution.
Speaking on Saturday, he said: “What we don’t want to do is go back to a situation in which we basically allowed the road haulage industry to be sustained with a lot of low-wage immigration.”
He added that a “mass immigration approach” had made the sector less attractive by reducing wages and “the quality of the job”.
“People don’t want that. They want us to be a well-paid, well-skilled, highly productive economy and that’s where we’re going.”
However, he did not rule out issuing more temporary visas, saying the situation would remain “under review”.
Ahead of the Conservative conference beginning on Sunday, the prime minister vowed to take “big, bold decisions” to rebuild after the pandemic.
“We didn’t go through Covid to go back to how things were before – to the status quo ante. Build Back Better means we want things to change and improve as