Fuel shortage Stable pressure on Johnson as British crisis escalates | MCUTimes

Fuel shortage Stable pressure on Johnson as British crisis escalates

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(Bloomberg) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure to do more to ease a UK supply chain crisis after pumps dried up at some petrol stations due to panic buying.

With a shortage of truck drivers increasing the prospect of extending the disruption of food and fuel supplies in the coming weeks, the government moved late Sunday to temporarily suspend competition rules and allow companies to coordinate fuel supply to the most affected regions.

It came after Johnson announced measures, including a U-turn on relaxing immigration rules for foreign truck drivers and poultry workers, and called on Army examiners to help increase driving tests on heavy goods vehicles.

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“We have many years of contingency plans in place to work with the industry so that the fuel supply can be maintained and deliveries can still be made in the event of a severe outage,” said Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

Businesses and opposition politicians said the 5,000 new visas for hauliers until Christmas would barely scratch the surface of a 100,000 deficit that has worsened since Britain left the EU. Ruby McGregor-Smith, president of the British Chambers of Commerce, likened visas to “throwing a thimble of water on a bonfire.”

While some countries in Europe are struggling with rising energy prices and labor shortages, the UK is facing a particularly taxing winter as it recovers from the pandemic. In recent weeks, hospitals have struggled with a backlog of patients, empty supermarket shelves and now lines at gas stations.

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Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labor Party, accused the Johnson government of not preparing for the consequences of Brexit. The UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, and its post-departure transition agreement ended earlier this year. “We have an absolute crisis in this country due to lack of planning on behalf of the government,” Starmer said.

Find drivers

BP Plc, the second-largest fuel retailer in the UK, said it had run out of main fuel at almost a third of its stations. Outside the highway network, at least half of the gas stations had run dry on Sunday, the Financial Times reported, citing Brian Madderson, president of the Petrol Retailers Association.

Read more: Several BP stations in the UK run out of fuel while buying panic

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Sunday sought to allay concerns, telling BBC television “there is actually plenty of petrol to go around.” The shortage of drivers for the fuel supply industry amounted to “one, two, three hundred.” Nevertheless, he left the possibility of drafting in the army open to supply gas stations. “We do what is required.”

Until the weekend, the government had insisted that haulage companies should educate the locals and pay them more. The changes to the immigration rules – which also add 5,500 visas to poultry workers – last for 12 weeks.

Johnson has cited Brexit as an opportunity to recreate the UK economy away from EU rules and its working pool. The argument is that foreign workers pulled down domestic wages and discouraged recruitment and training. But business claims it needs a longer period of time to move away from that dependence on EU workers.

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Furlough quits

Food and fuel shortages add a pile of daunting challenges for Johnson, with the British facing a rise in electricity and gas prices, as well as some important pandemic support measures being revealed.

The flagship removal program, which prompted the government to pay salaries for more than 11 million jobs during the pandemic, ends Sept. 30. The Labor Party released an analysis late on Sunday that showed that about 81,000 aviation workers are among those at risk of losing their jobs when the closure program closes.

On October 6, a 20-pound weekly lift on social security payments called Universal Credit ends, a decision that has caused unrest among conservative peoples because of its impact on poorer people.

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Newspapers have begun to refer to a “winter of discontent”, a politically charged phrase that evokes memories of 1978-79, when the British economy was brought to its knees by strikes and severe weather. It eventually brought the Labor government and initiated the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher.

Tory ‘Scum’

“We have energy shortages, we have shortages in our supermarkets,” Labor’s Starmer said. “We have an increase in prices. We are getting taxes on working families and we have got the government to take a thousand pounds from those who need it most. ”

Vice President Angela Rayner put it more directly, describing the Conservatives as “foam” at an event at Labor’s annual conference. It sparked a new quarrel in the party, just as it was intended to demonstrate to the electorate that it was united and ready to govern.

On Sunday, she refused to apologize for using the word, saying it was the “street language” of the northern English working class and that she was only referring to members of the cabinet. “I spoke to a group of activists to say you should get that fire in your stomach,” she said.

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