UK service stations show “very timid signs of stabilization”, Transport Secretary says – business live | Business
Hello and welcome to our continued coverage of the Global Economy, Financial Crisis, Eurozone, Business and Supply Chain Crisis in the UK.
Britain has woken up with another day of disruption in fuel supplies, after problems with shipping petrol and diesel to forecourts led to shortages and panic buying in recent days.
There are fears that essential services may be disrupted as the impact spills over to the economy.
Transport groups are already reporting problems on the roads this morning, as queues at gas stations with fuel to sell pile up in the early hours of the morning.
Southdown buses, which run through Kent, Surrey and Sussex, warn of queues and delays.
And there are problems on other roads as motorists try to refuel.
Other service stations run out of certain grades of fuel or run dry, as the industry struggles to get fuel to forecourt quickly enough.
Yesterday, the fuel industry said there was “a lot of fuel” in UK refineries and terminals, and expected demand “to return to normal levels in the coming days” .
They hope demand will decline after the weekend rush:
“As many cars now contain more fuel than usual, we expect demand to return to normal levels in the coming days, easing the pressure on gas station forecourts. We encourage everyone to buy fuel as usual.
But many people are trying to find fuel for their normal activities, such as key health care workers. Pressure is mounting on the government to give ambulance drivers, health workers and other essential workers priority access to fuel.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned that as the pumps go dry, “there is a real risk that NHS staff will not be able to do their jobs.”
A midwife at a Surrey hospital told the i journal that the situation was “exasperating”.
On Monday morning, she was an hour late for work after trying five gas stations on her way back from Brighton.
“NHS workers are on their knees. The workload is relentless and we don’t have the extra capacity to search and stress for fuel to get to work. Who gives priority to key workers? “
Schools are also concerned that they will be forced to revert to online education if staff, students or vendors cannot come on board.
Companies are also warning of problems.
David Brown, president of the National Courier and Despatch Association, a trade body, said delivery companies were turning down jobs and telling workers to stay home due to lack of certainty over fuel supplies.
“It was difficult,” he added (via the Financial Times)
“It has been frustrating for the people who make a living by driving. “
The government yesterday put army drivers on standby to help deliver gasoline and diesel if needed – but halted ahead of an immediate deployment
Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, said it was right for the government to take “reasonable and precautionary measures”.
“The UK continues to have significant fuel supplies. However, we are aware of the supply chain issues on gas station forecourts and are taking action to alleviate them as a priority, ”he said. “If necessary, the deployment of military personnel will provide the supply chain with additional capacity as a temporary measure to help alleviate pressures caused by spikes in localized demand for fuel. “
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