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Scotland has adequate petrol supply to meet purchasing patterns, says Swinney

Scotland has an adequate petrol supply to meet normal purchasing patterns, John Swinney has said, though a spike in demand could lead to pumps running out quickly.

The Deputy First Minister said the Scottish Government had spoken to fuel suppliers about distribution problems in recent days.

On Sunday the UK Government suspended competition laws to allow suppliers to target petrol stations which are running low.

As well as the shortage of HGV drivers, the industry has blamed “panic buying” from consumers for queues at forecourts around the UK.

Discussing the situation on the BBC ‘s Good Morning Scotland radio programme on Monday, Swinney said Brexit was to blame for the lack of drivers.

He said: “There is an adequate supply of fuel to meet normal demand, but it does hinge on being able to distribute that fuel to all locations.

“From my experience of dealing with difficulties about fuel supply in the past, when we had industrial action amongst tanker drivers, supply can run out very quickly because the petrol stations are being replenished with supply on a really very regular basis.”

He continued: “In a normal purchasing pattern then, I’m confident there is a distribution arrangement in place that can adequately supply those petrol stations.

“But obviously, if there is an increased demand for fuel, then that will put pressure on the distribution companies in being able to meet that demand in all locations around the country.”

It comes as the SNP minister admitted concerns over Christmas.

He said: “There is obviously that concern but I think actually the issues about the availability of goods isn’t just about the availability of drivers, it’s about the fact that in some circumstances it is difficult to get access to products because of the added friction to trade that has been applied by Brexit.

“In a number of sectors, it’s proving difficult, it’s taking longer for goods to get from Scotland to the European Union.”

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