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UK petrol shortages blamed on ‘panic buying’

Credit: Belga

Petrol shortages in the UK are due to “panic buying, pure and simple,” the chairman of the UK’s petrol station association (PRA) told the BBC on Monday, while local press reports suggest the government is considering calling in the army to deliver fuel.

“One of our members yesterday received a tanker at midday and by late afternoon the entire tanker had disappeared into people’s cars,” added PRA chairman Brian Madderson.

Stations were mainly running out of petrol in urban areas of the country, while Northern Ireland appeared to be free of the problem, for the time being, he added.

Credit: Belga

The surge in demand led the PRA to warn that nearly two-thirds of its members (almost 5,500 gas stations) across the country were running out of fuel on Sunday, with “the remainder almost dry”.

In recent days and despite calls from the government not to panic, petrol stations have been hit by shortages that also affect food shelves.

The UK’s lack of HGV drivers is the primary issue leading to the shortages. In an effort to alleviate this crisis, the government has amended its post-Brexit immigration policy and granted up to 10,500 temporary work visas. Previously, many HGV drivers working in the UK were from other European countries and chose to avoid the UK and its more complicated post-Brexit entry procedures, as previously reported.

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From October to December, these three-month permits are intended to alleviate a critical shortage of truck drivers and staff in key sectors of the British economy, such as poultry farming.

According to the British press, the government is considering calling in the army to help alleviate the shortages in the short term.

Business and Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said in a statement on Sunday that he had temporarily exempted the fuel retail sector from competition rules so that they could deliver to areas of greatest need.

The Brussels Times

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