ANOTHER day, another unforced error by the UK Government. This latest one saw them having to U-turn on one of their core policies.

Boris Johnson scrambled to reach a compromise with his fractured Cabinet over what to do about the HGV driver crisis, a crisis which dominated the headlines last week, as supermarket shelves emptied and petrol stations rationed fuel or ran out altogether.

They all agreed that something must be done. By now the food-supply issues will have reached Waitrose in Kensington and ministers need to have a solution ready for when their well-heeled constituents start to complain.

Cabinet was split on the issue. Some members – you can imagine who – were reluctant to do anything that might give off the impression that immigration might actually be a good thing.

On Saturday, we learned foreign lorry drivers will be allowed back into the UK to save us from impending disaster. But not for long. The temporary visas will be valid for only three months, which means that, having saved our Christmas, our saviours will be expected to leave the UK by Christmas Eve.

The National: UK prime minister Boris Johnson, Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, and newly promoted Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Stephen Barclay

How charitable. The UK Government will let these workers from abroad come and fix the mess they’ve made, but will kick them out before the turkey is carved and the presents are opened.

I know we’re well used to the arrogance of this government by now but my God, what a cheek.

Who does it think it is? If a pal banned you from her house but then decided that you were allowed back in to do the dishes, you wouldn’t feel grateful would you?

It’s not clear why the UK Government expects HGV drivers to sign up to this scheme. Why would they go through the hassle of a visa application process and uproot their lives to work in the UK for a few months when they could just remain in employment where they are?

The managing director of a haulage firm in Wales, Chris Bird, said he thought the scheme would have “very little benefit”. “Drivers can go and work in France where there is a shorter working week and they get paid in euros,” he said. “I don’t see them flocking here because we are not the golden goose any more. Previously, every pound was worth one-and-a-half euros, but that benefit is no longer there.’’

Even if lorry drivers from abroad do accept this paltry “offer”, the government has said it is only issuing 5000 temporary visas. That’s nowhere near enough to avert short-term disaster.

The National:

The president of the British Chamber of Commerce, Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith (above), described the temporary visa scheme as “the equivalent of throwing a thimble of water on a bonfire” and that it will “not be enough to address the scale of problem”.

The UK has a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers. In its short-sighted arrogance, the Tory government decided these workers didn’t reach the “skills threshold” in its post-Brexit utopia. And look where we are now – empty shelves, long queues at petrol stations and a warning that, unless a solution is found in the next eight days, we will face almost inevitable disruption at Christmas.

Still, all is not lost. Tory MPs have taken to Twitter to deliver a co-ordinated message in reassuring all-caps. “THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF FUEL,” they scream, as they edge their Range Rovers towards pump number six in the hope that there’s some of the good stuff left.

Technically, they are right. There is fuel, but there aren’t enough drivers to deliver the fuel to the petrol stations. The end result is the same –panic buying, key services feeling the strain and a domino effect cascading down the supply chain.

In the not-too-distant future, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see industry leaders calling for a similar relaxation of rules around immigration in their sectors, as the consequences of Brexit start to bite. The UK isn’t just short of HGV drivers; it needs more hospitality workers, more care workers and more NHS workers too.

As well as the 5000 visas for lorry drivers, the UK Government has also announced 5500 temporary visas for poultry workers from abroad to come to the UK.

Ending freedom of movement was mis-sold as a great prize by some Tory politicians, including the current Prime Minister.

They told voters in England that the only thing holding the country back from greatness was the overbearing influence of the EU and “unchecked” immigration. They made it abundantly clear that these people – who had lived, loved and worked here for years – were not welcome.

And now, reluctantly and grim-faced, they admit we need immigration after all. They do so while still pretending that freedom of movement was a bad thing that it was right to scrap.

“Save our Christmas, then pack your bags” is a shameful message to send to these workers. Any Christmas disruption will be the fault of the UK Government, not the workers who refuse to accept this measly offer.