Don’t panic, buy, Britain tells consumers as BP closes gas stations

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  • UK is not coming back to 1970s – Minister says
  • Supermarkets warn of panic buying
  • The BoE sees inflation exceed 4%
  • UK says we won’t bail out failed businesses

LONDON, Sept. 23 (Reuters) – Oil giant BP said on Thursday it had to temporarily close some service stations in Britain due to a shortage of truck drivers, hours after a young minister warned the public not to panic to buy because of food shortage fears.

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said Britain was not returning to a 1970s-style “winter of discontent” of strikes and power shortages amid widespread problems caused by electricity problems. Supply Chain.

Soaring European wholesale natural gas prices sent shockwaves through energy, chemicals and steel producers, and strained supply chains that were already crumbling due to a labor force. insufficient work and the tumult of Brexit.

After gas prices triggered a carbon dioxide shortage, Britain was forced to expand state of emergency support to avoid a poultry and meat shortage.

Tesco (TSCO.L), Britain’s largest supermarket group, told government officials last week that the shortage of truck drivers would lead to panic shopping as Christmas approaches if no action is taken.

Supermarket shelves with soft drinks and water have been left empty in some places and turkey farmers have warned families could be left without their traditional Christmas turkey lunch if the carbon dioxide shortage continues .

Another sign of a worsening supply chain dislocation, BP (BP.L) has temporarily closed some of its 1,200 service stations in the UK due to a lack of unleaded and diesel qualities, which she blamed on the shortage of drivers. Read more

ExxonMobil’s Esso (XOM.N) said a small number of its 200 Tesco Alliance retail locations were also affected.

“People don’t have to go out and panic to buy,” Scully told Times Radio.

“Look, that’s not a 1970s thing at all,” he said when asked if Britain was heading for a winter of discontent again – a reference to the winter 1978-79 when inflation and industrial action left the economy in chaos.

The Bank of England said inflation would temporarily rise above 4% for the first time in a decade later this year, largely due to energy and goods prices.

A spokesperson for Tesco said the group currently has good availability, although he said the shortage of truck drivers had caused “some distribution problems”.

A spokesperson for Player 2 Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) said that “the availability of certain product categories may vary, but alternatives are available.”

Supermarkets and farmers have called on Britain to alleviate labor shortages in key areas – especially truckers, processing and picking – which have strained the supply chain food.

WORK CRISIS

The trucking industry needs 90,000 more drivers to meet demand after Brexit made it harder for European workers to drive in Britain and the pandemic prevented new workers from qualifying.

“My business is running out of around 100 heavy truck drivers, which makes it increasingly very, very difficult to maintain our stores,” said Richard Walker, general manager of Supermarket Iceland, adding that deliveries were canceled.

“This is a concern and as we look to build up inventory as an industry, work towards our exceptional time of year, Christmas, we are now facing this shortage at the worst possible time. I am concerned. “

The National Farmers’ Union has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to urgently introduce a new visa system to help tackle labor shortages along the supply chain.

POWER TO COAL?

Rising natural gas prices add to the feeling of chaos. Six energy providers went out of business this month, leaving nearly 1.5 million customers facing rising bills.

Just over a month before Johnson hosted world leaders at a United Nations climate conference, known as COP26, power producer Drax Group Plc (DRX.L) said that it could keep its coal plants in operation beyond their scheduled shutdown next year. Read more

Britain is in talks with energy regulator Ofgem over whether a cap on gas and electricity prices for consumers may need to increase, Scully said.

The cap was put in place to prevent energy companies from abusing consumers, but has now made their businesses unprofitable because it is below the wholesale price.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told parliament the government will not bail out failed energy companies and offer subsidies or subsidies to large energy companies.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Kate Holton, James Davey and Michael Holden; edited by Angus MacSwan, Elaine Hardcastle and Nick Macfie

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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