Andrea Leadsom appeared on LBC and laid the blame for the current petrol shortages on the media. She argued the reports of panic buying, fights at queues, and stories on garages closing were adding to the hysteria of the country. But host Nick Ferrari pointed out it was not the media who is in charge of HGV drivers nor were they responsible for the shortages and remarked government ministers have urged the public to “not panic” which, incidentally, only encourages the opposite.
News stories began to emerge of a handful of BP garages being forced to close because of fuel shortages at the end of last week.
However, the news unnerved the public as many queued up for hours to fill up their cars and cans for fear they will be unable to get to work.
Over the weekend, many garages have been forced to close due to the panic buying with the shortages in HGV drivers also slowing down the speed at which they are restocked.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has tried to assure the country by explaining there is no shortage of fuel but the issue lies in the supply chain.
Many have ignored the dull words of encouragement and have taken to stations to fill up with one garage in East Sussex selling a week’s worth of fuel in one day.
Ms Leadsom appeared on LBC to lay the blame on the media and told the station: “I think what we’ve seen is shortages at some petrol stations driven, frankly, by all of this talk in the press about panic buying.
“I was in Rugby last night and I drove past three stations with no queues and with fuel.
“It would have been helpful to get a more balanced story because people will always react if they’re told there is no fuel.”
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) says over 100,000 more HGV drivers are needed in the UK to meet demand.
The RHA say around 20,000 drivers left the UK because of “Brexit reasons” with many more Britons also leaving the sector.
A combination of the pandemic, testing backlogs, and changes in labour have also been blamed for the shortfall.
The Government has put the army on standby to deliver fuel to stations across the country if needed.
Temporary visas have also been issued for European drivers to work in the UK for three months to address the shortfall.
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