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Petrol shortage still ‘big problem’ and ‘worsening’ in parts of UK, expert says

Chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) Brian Madderson said the fuel shortage remains a “really big problem” in London and the South East

Motorists queue for fuel at an ESSO petrol station in Ashford, Kent

The fuel shortage is getting worse in some parts of the country and military deployment will only have a limited impact, an expert has warned.

Chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) Brian Madderson said it remains a “really big problem” in London and the South East.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “In London and the South East and possibly parts of eastern England, if anything it had got worse.”

Mr Madderson welcomed the announcement that military drivers are to be deployed from Monday, but he warned it will only have a limited impact.

“This isn’t going to be the major panacea,” he said. “It’s a large help but in terms of the volume, they are not going to be able to carry that much.

“We do need a prioritisation of deliveries to filling stations – particularly the independent ones which are the neighbourhood retail sites – in London and the South East starting immediately.”

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People with jerry cans joining the queue for petrol
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Image:

Jonathan Buckmaster)




He said rising world oil prices mean motorists should expect higher prices at the pumps when filling stations are resupplied.

“Expect anything from 1, 2 or even 3p a litre increases at the pump. This is not profiteering. This is genuine wholesale price increases causes by global factors.”

Military drivers will be deployed to deliver fuel to forecourts from Monday as the crisis at the pumps continues.

Almost 200 military personnel, including 100 drivers, have been training at haulier sites and will start deliveries to help relieve the situation at petrol stations, which ministers insist is stabilising.



Motorists queuing for petrol on Friday in Ashford
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Image:

PA)




The Government also announced that a temporary visa scheme for nearly 5,000 foreign food haulage drivers, which was due to expire on December 24, will be extended to the end of February, following criticism of its attractiveness to drivers.

It comes as opposition parties raised the prospect of a parliamentary recall to address wider labour shortages and supply chain disruption.

Keir Starmer said the temporary visa scheme would not be up and running “for weeks”, and added that the Prime Minister should, if necessary, recall Parliament to rush through legislation to ensure the shelves remain stocked in the run-up to Christmas.



An expert said motorists should expect higher prices at the pumps
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Image:

PA)




In an announcement on Friday evening, the Government said 300 fuel tanker drivers would be able to come to the UK from overseas “immediately” under a bespoke temporary visa which will last until March.

Some 4,700 other visas intended for foreign food haulage drivers will be extended beyond the initially announced three months and will last from late October to the end of February.

A total of 5,500 poultry workers will also be allowed in to help keep supermarket shelves stocked with turkeys before Christmas.

The Government has said these workers, who can arrive from late October, will be able to stay up to December 31 under the temporary visa scheme.


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