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‘Normal Supply in Days’, Politicians React to Continuing Fuel Supply Disruption

Published on: 2 Oct, 2021
Updated on: 6 Oct, 2021

By Martin Giles

Guildford’s MP Angela Richardson has told The Guildford Dragon NEWS that despite the situation being faced by motorists in Guildford and across the South East there is plenty of fuel and that the fuel industry has informed the government that “normal demand will return to forecourts in the coming days”.

She also stressed the importance of the public exercising restraint so that demand can return to normal levels.

A survey by the Petrol Retailers Association of 1,000 petrol stations across the UK found 68% have both grades of fuel available, while 16% have no fuel at all.

But a check on six Guildford petrol stations this afternoon by The Dragon found only two had fuel to sell.

See: Still a ‘Big Problem’, Only One of Guildford’s Four Central Petrol Stations Has Fuel to Sell

The military is due to begin delivering petrol across the UK from Monday.

Speaking to broadcasters on a visit to a hospital in Leeds, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “You need to take all possible precautions but the supplies are getting in, they are getting to the forecourts, but people just need to be going about their business in the normal way.”

Angela Richardson MP

Ms Richardson said: “It is important to reiterate the following message to residents of Guildford who are understandably frustrated at any difficulties they are facing going about their normal lives due to lack of fuel at petrol stations and queues on the highway.

“The fuel industry has informed the government that normal demand will return to forecourts in the coming days.  This will be helped enormously by people using petrol stations in a normal way.

“There is plenty of supply of fuel in the UK.

“Where this issue has been exacerbated by a shortage of HGV drivers, which clearly impacts many sectors in the economy, the government has put in place a series of measures to help.

“This includes making the process more streamlined to get a HGV licence, increasing training opportunities through skills boot camps to give an additional 4,000 drivers and providing short-term relief for the haulage industry with 5,000 able to come to the UK in the run-up to Christmas.

“The government has written to those HGV drivers who have left the industry encouraging them to return.  I think we can agree that a skilled job such as this needs fair recognition, which is why the Prime Minister is rightly encouraging industry to look at improving pay conditions for HGV drivers.”

Zoe Franklin

But Zoe Franklin, recently confirmed as the Liberal Democrat’s parliamentary candidate for Guildford in the next general election, criticised the government for a lack of foresight.

She said: “You only need to look at social media to see the impact current fuel supply problems are having in Guildford. There are regular posts asking for help to find petrol or diesel so that people can get to work, medical appointments or drive to see vulnerable family members.

“People are upset and worried which is completely understandable. That we are in this situation at all is unforgivable given the problem was completely foreseeable when the UK stopped the easy supply of the HGV driver workforce from Europe.

“The government has had months to prepare for this situation, but have once again failed to act in a timely fashion. They could have instigated plans put in place by coalition Lib Dems during the last fuel crisis, but David Cameron cancelled these in 2015 and only this week has the military been given the specialist training needed to drive fuel tankers.

“So again we have government-on-the hoof with a short-term visa offer to Europe’s HGV drivers, a plan which immediately led to a U-turn to extend the length of these visas. The country is aching for leadership which Boris Johnson is unable to provide and sadly Guildford is suffering as a result.”

Howard Smith

And a former Guildford parliamentary candidate for the Labour party, Howard Smith, added: “The fuel crisis is a crisis of this government’s own making. They knew we could very easily have supply problems because of the lack of qualified drivers. So where was the planning, where was the contingency?

“Boris Johnson’s initial response, of course, was to deny there was a problem, then to blame the media. But nothing was done to help until almost a week into the crisis when he has decided to mobilise the army.

“This episode which can have truly dire consequences for people who need to use their cars and vans is emblematic of this prime minister. Deny, blame others, disappear from view and finally do something which sadly becomes too little, too late.

“It’s not good enough I’m afraid, from a completely inadequate prime minister.”

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Responses to ‘Normal Supply in Days’, Politicians React to Continuing Fuel Supply Disruption

  1. Susan Parker Reply

    October 2, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    Where is the petrol station that is selling fuel, please? Those who don’t have much in the tank would prefer not to drive for miles looking. Could we have a list of local petrol stations with current supply, perhaps?

    Susan Parker is a GGG borough councillor for Send.

    Editor’s response: I am afraid we do not have the resources to maintain a list of filling stations with fuel especially as the situation changes hour-by-hour. Our coverage is intended to show, through snapshots, the general situation.

  2. Daniel Hill Reply

    October 2, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    Let’s not fall in the trap making assumptions and trying to pass them off as fact. It is disappointing to see local politicians like Zoe Franklin tell people the fuel crisis is because our country doesn’t get our cheap Labour from Europe anymore.

    Before we go down the road of blaming Brexit It would be nice to see some numbers for how many UK fuel tanker drivers were from Europe before Brexit. And how many of those fuel tanker drivers left the UK after Brexit.

    One statistic I did find – 40,000 UK drivers have had their HGV tests cancelled during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    I think it is more likely that the current lack of HGV drivers is due to the world wide pandemic we have been facing.

  3. Mike Dent Reply

    October 4, 2021 at 4:30 am

    Pretty typical of our MP to just provide a stock, boilerplate ministerial response rather than actually listening to the people of Guildford and helping them to get on with their ordinary lives.

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