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Fuel pumps run dry in UK as govt blames panic buying

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By Ben PERRY

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55 Comments
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Really, it ought to blame Brexit. In retrospect, a really dumb idea.

-6 ( +15 / -21 )

The US has a similar but not as extreme shortage of heavy truck drivers. The problem is not one any government can remedy completely. The whole of the transportation and warehousing industry globally is built on working people as many hours as possible for as little pay as possible. When I worked at FedEx Ground our annual turnover of warehouse workers was between 150% and 250%. Truck companies are perennially short of drivers. They wonder why they cannot keep drivers but they insist on 12 to 14 hour workdays, playing games with hours of service, expecting you to falsify your logs, sending you to load places where the dock workers and supervisors are abusive to you, making you use porta potties in the hot sun instead of letting you use the bathroom inside, having to load and unload the truck yourself in summer heat. Just a miserable job, but make one mistake and they chew you up one side and down the other. Dispatcher yelling at you on the phone to hurry up but you are stuck in traffic. No thanks.

25 ( +25 / -0 )

It will be interesting to see how the UK Politicians and Media blame Russia/Gazprom for this.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

I just got to laugh at the moronic Brexiters who wanted their country back! Well, you lot should have been careful what you wish for!!! All you idiots thought Britain can exist in a vacuum, did you?

4 ( +20 / -16 )

They just shot another Brexit bullet in their foot.

4 ( +18 / -14 )

How fragile the UK looks after its pathetic Brexit, this is the chronicle of an announced tragedy and many more will come.

I assure you that sooner or later the UK will return to the European Union with its tail between its legs.

For now, let's enjoy this pathetic Eurocomedy..

-3 ( +15 / -18 )

maybe get electric vehicles then you're not dependent on imports

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

@DT The whole of the transportation and warehousing industry globally is built on working people as many hours as possible for as little pay as possible.

Predatory capitalism at its worst, and some shareholders will defend that sort of exploitation of labor saying shaving costs to increase profits is warranted, because it's all about the bottom line and preserving the value of their personal investments.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

P, this isn’t predatory capitalism, it’s market failure.

The capitalists’ profits would be maximized if they could sell at the profit maximizing price (which would be lower than now due to the larger quantity sold. Long story short, they would rather sell more at a lower price because they would make more money

This is an artificial shortage caused by Brexit and the rules regarding foreign labor.

Not good for consumers. Not good for the “predatory capitalists’” AKA suppliers.

Gosh, it’s like borris and his merry band of morons didn’t think this whole Brexit thing through....

4 ( +11 / -7 )

There was never a shortage, the media just scared lots of stupid people into panic-buying which caused an actual shortage.

Such a stupid situation, nothing to do with Brexit

-2 ( +14 / -16 )

Even The Guardian isn't blaming Brexit

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/25/panic-buying-rather-than-shortages-causing-queues-at-uk-petrol-stations-aa-head-says

3 ( +11 / -8 )

For everyone else watching the slow motion train wreck that the UK now is, this is a textbook example of how to trash your economy and ruin your country. Just for once, other nations should watch and learn, rather than rush, lemming-like, to repeat it on their own turf.

Pre-Referendum the UK economy was set to overhaul that of Germany. Without Covid lockdowns to cover it up, the extent of the damage caused by Brexit is becoming impossible to hide. Maybe they will run with a new wave of the virus and cancel Christmas (again). But they can only delay the inevitable. You break something as big as a country, it is difficult to hide it.

I suppose it'll be years before the Brexit lobby write their memoirs and come clean on whether they were really daft enough to believe that it would work, or were simply prepared to break everything just to get out of the EU, and then leave the social, political and economic carnage for others to deal with.

The UK was one of the best places to live and work in Europe. It optimised its economy by attracting labour from wherever it needed to, it's citizens able to live and work easily across the EU. All trashed now. The US managed to get rid of Trump with an election. The virus is being hammered down by vaccines. Nothing is going to fix Brexit. The UK will be on the slide for at least a generation, re-running the 1970s.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

This has everything to do with Brexit. Everything from Truck drivers, to farm workers, to fishery workers and a dozen other fields were filled by workers outside the U.K. and when they pulled out of the EU Boris and company had zero plans to how those job positions would be staffed. Everything about Brexit has been screwed up from beginning to end.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

Idiots sitting on major highways, closing them to trucks don't help.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Or Covid. Or Brexit.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

All you idiots thought Britain can exist in a vacuum, did you?

The vacuum is in their body politic, and Bojo's head.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

maybe get electric vehicles then you're not dependent on imports

For battery materials you are.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Even The Guardian isn't blaming Brexit

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/25/panic-buying-rather-than-shortages-causing-queues-at-uk-petrol-stations-aa-head-says

That article isn't blaming the "panic buying" specifically on Brexit, but its clear - both from that article and others - that the lack of truck drivers which caused the supply problems in the first place is directly linked to Brexit.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Covid merely made Brexit worse. Anyway, Brexiteers, you got your freedom, and with it comes this. Not enough truck drivers, probably higher fuel costs, not enough workers in general, higher food costs, problems regarding the Irish border, NHS STILL not getting the 350m pounds a week, as promised. I know, let's blame China.

I cannot for the life of me understand how BoJo ever became mayor of London, let alone PM. UK needs a competent PM, not someone who is always giving a grammar school lesson on Latin, and waffling endlessly.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Why do people need petrol? After Brexit I thought people would be riding around on unicorns!

There were some smart people during the Brexit debates that were predicting a shortage of workers in some sectors exactly like this. "Fearmongering" was the response.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

The government is entirely responsible for the situation.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Long story short, they would rather sell more at a lower price because they would make more money

This is a very fundamental misunderstanding of how a competitive market works. When Adam Smith and David Ricardo defined for the world what a competitive market is, they envisioned so many buyers and sellers that no one party to a market could influence price. All participants to the market would be price takers. In a fully competitive market prices are bid to the absolute bare minimum and this price also happens to minimize profit. In theory, if profits in a market were above the "risk adjusted market rate of return", new sellers would be attracted too the market trying to take advantage of these higher profits. The added competition would eventually bid prices down and eliminate the higher profits. When supply equals demand, output is maximized and prices and profits are minimized. This is the most beneficial situation for an economy as a whole.

A monopolist by comparison knows the profits are maximized where marginal revenue equals marginal cost. This happens at a point where price is higher than it would be in a competitive market and output is necessarily less. The difference in price between what the monopolist charges and what is possible in a competitive market are called "monopoly rents" and represent both a wealth transfer from consumers to producers and a deadweight loss to the economy. That price difference also prices many consumers out of the market while those who can afford the good or service can only afford less than they would in a fully competitive market. Firms look for ways to minimize competition buying competitors and merging in order to avail themselves of those monopoly rents. Western firms have proven very adept at this and most major markets are dominated by a small number of firms, only two or three (each with a myriad of brand names to fool you into thinking there is more competition than there is).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Everyone blaming Brexit, but how about the haulage industry? They knew they wouldn't be able to rely on imported cheap labour anymore, so why didn't they go about making driving a better job for people to do. They could have raised wages and standards, increased training and conditions, and planned for a changing market, they are supposed to be in logistics after all.

No, this boils down to the greed of the haulage companies and those industries that have for too long been willing to run their businesses on an unsustainable model of importing easily exploitable cheap labour.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

lol, why don't the Brits just "BeLeave" they have fuel and food?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

UK voters were warned that Brexit would likely lead to huge labor shortages, particularly in the transportation and healthcare sectors (truck drivers and nurses)

Now there is a huge shortage of qualified truck drivers and nurses to staff UK hospitals.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Excellent post, Desert Tortoise.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

There were some smart people during the Brexit debates that were predicting a shortage of workers in some sectors exactly like this.

You don't need to be smart. You just need a brain cell.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I assure you that sooner or later the UK will return to the European Union with its tail between its legs.

Yep, while in the meantime the UK's economy will continue to chase its own tail and eventually circle the drain. Then one fine day, after the country finally sickens on the Tory smoke 'n' mirrors version of economic Snakes and Ladders, the whole Brexit kit and caboodle will go down the rabbit hole and the UK will wake up, back in the EU. It was all a bad dream, after all.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The Dutch guy quoted in the final sentence has a good command of English.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well color me surprized: liberals bemoaning shortages of cheap foreign labour. The reason Britain finds itself in this situation is that, for British management, "R&D" and "investment and training" in staff are and have been dirty words for decades.

Britain: train up, educate and pay your people a living wage. Those of you decrying the dearth of free movement of people and foreign labor not progressives.

You are neocapitalist shills.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Out of all the EU countries, which Britain is no longer a member, it has the lowest reserves of gas/petrol. When the covid pandemic happened it was discovered the country imported all of its PPEs and didn't have enough labs for covid testing. Cutting corners becomes expensive in the end.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Not Brexit; not - 'SARS Ver 2' (lets a least call a spade a spade or else what's the point of having a free speech platform?). The bottom line; the greedy, fat cat shareholders and non exec' directors/advisors of companies (many of whom are serving politicians) who have vested interests in keeping overheads down and their remuneration - comparative to the shop-floor worker - at obscene levels. Well, they must think, if F1 drivers and sport -stars are having millions thrown their way, surely we the 'privileged' few, the puppet masters deserve the same. There are over 200,000 licensed HGV drivers in the UK who could be working but have quit or taken early retirement, 50,000 of those have left the industry this year exhausted physically and mentally by the working conditions and pay. I should know as I am one of them. Poaching drivers from other countries is a slap in the face on top of everything else.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Panic buying that was ignited by the BBC and other media tabloids after they published articles about a 'fuel shortage' when 5 out of 8300+ petrol stations had to temporarily close..... The media have a lot to answer for over this mess.

And as for the shortage of HGV drivers. This is a European wide issue with counties such as Germany short of up to 65,000 HGV drivers and also Poland who are short of around 124,000 HGV drivers (a figure that is higher than the UK's!)

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Panic buying that was ignited by the BBC and other media tabloids after they published articles about a 'fuel shortage' when 5 out of 8300+ petrol stations had to temporarily close..... The media have a lot to answer for over this mess.

Indeed. The Daily Fail has been reprinting photos of the September 2000 fuel shortage (hauliers barricaded the fuel depots preventing tankers from leaving) in addition to the (some might say staged) photos of the current dash for fuel.

This fuel "shortage is a media-driven run upon service stations, and once the half-witted drivers have finished hoarding, things will quickly return to normal (i.e. by the end of the week).

Of course, when all our cars go electric, we have media driven brown and black outs to look forward to.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

BungleToday 10:30 am JST

Well color me surprized: liberals bemoaning shortages of cheap foreign labour. The reason Britain finds itself in this situation is that, for British management, "R&D" and "investment and training" in staff are and have been dirty words for decades.

Britain: train up, educate and pay your people a living wage. Those of you decrying the dearth of free movement of people and foreign labor not progressives.

You are neocapitalist shills.

Excellent post. The battle cry of the modern neo-liberal Left is:

"Workers of the world emigrate! You have nothing to lose but your homelands!"

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

The chickens coming home to roost for voting to leave the EU.Maybe the supporters on here can go back to the UK and help out.Though you need one year of training to drive a truck.Oh well...

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

"... I think the EU workers we speak to will not go to the UK for a short-term visa to help UK out of the shiz they created for themselves," 

Beautifully put.Why help them out? Let them learn the hard way.Consequences and repercussions.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

kariharuka:

This is a European wide issue with counties such as Germany short of up to 65,000 HGV drivers and also Poland who are short of around 124,000 HGV drivers (a figure that is higher than the UK's!)

And they get around this by having workers from other EU countries. Oh wait, UK is not a member of EU anymore. Hence, British politicians running around like headless chickens, trying to get foreign workers special permission to work in UK.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

honestly i dont know why?

ok they have left EU as wanted to secure jobs for own people...?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well color me surprized: liberals bemoaning shortages of cheap foreign labour.

Is everyone complaining about the shortage of cheap foreign labour a "liberal"? That would make every farmer, every abattoir owner, every retirement home owner, every haulage firm boss, etc. a liberal, which is patently false.

It won't affect people picking fruit or plucking turkeys, but Brexit as executed has created a mass of extra paperwork and border delays for anyone driving a truck between the mainland and Northern Ireland or between the mainland and the EU. If you have drivers newly stuck at the border for hours, you are going to need more of them. The resulting inefficiency is also not going to be helpful in paying them higher salaries.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It is the toilet paper panic buying all over again, just with petrol.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

UK gas shortages grow as people panic purchase amid dwindling deliveries:

The nation is suffering from Brexit negative impact, pandemic countless woes, economic sluggish growth & more..

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Is everyone complaining about the shortage of cheap foreign labour a "liberal"? That would make every farmer, every abattoir owner, every retirement home owner, every haulage firm boss, etc. a liberal, which is patently false.

Yes, this boring partisan nonsense is so unhelpful yet again.

One of the best speeches I heard in Parliament recently was from a Tory MP talking about the dire situation of farmers in his constituency seeing their produce rot. Johnson then started blathering about UK produce being the best in the world in response. Patel looked like she wanted to go up there and sew his lips together.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Brexit is kind of necessary revolution.

It shows like covid pandemic that wages need to be higher for the locals.

Only the elite is winning with you as a slave on the economic international chessboard.

I am quite optimistic that at the end, wages in UK and also in many parts of the world will go up and be a buying power for more local products. Good for the planet.

We need though some needed products (medicine, fossile energy, etc) but there are lots which is total waste (toys from Asia, replacing smartphones too often, wood or food from the other side of the planet...).

I am happy if more in a digital world and in a less consumer wasteworld.

All for optimization of waste makes you think truck drivers are essential and shall be valued.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Its the tank that ran dry not the pumps.

Tally ho

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Paul - I just got to laugh at the moronic Brexiters who wanted their country back! Well, you lot should have been careful what you wish for!!! All you idiots thought Britain can exist in a vacuum, did you?

It was nice of you to call Brexiters moronic and idiots. You're so enlightened. You go little tough guy armchair warrior.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

woops

Most of us DONT have an advanced degree...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The AvengerToday  10:01 am JST

UK voters were warned that Brexit would likely lead to huge labor shortages, particularly in the transportation and healthcare sectors (truck drivers and nurses)

Now there is a huge shortage of qualified truck drivers and nurses to staff UK hospitals.

There were huge shortages of HGV drivers and nurses before Brexit. It’s just a whole lot worse now because of it. Germany also has a shortage of lorry drivers, as does much of Europe.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There were huge shortages of HGV drivers and nurses before Brexit. It’s just a whole lot worse now because of it. Germany also has a shortage of lorry drivers, as does much of Europe.

The transportation and warehousing industries as a whole treat their workers miserably. Maritime workers are similarly abused but they are out of sight and out of mind for most landlubbers. My only surprise is that it has taken so long for these shortages to develop. I left trucking about 15 years ago and would never go back to that grind even if they could match my current salary. The hours, the crummy working conditions, frequent lack of toilets or a place to wash up when you are sweating bullets, the abuse from dispatchers, customers and third party loading facilities are just not worth any amount of money. Then they want you to be bright eyed and chipper at all times after four 14 hour days in a row. Nah, these companies richly deserve to lose their drivers. They never really valued them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As most intelligent people know, this has nothing to do with Brexit. There is a shortage of 400,000 truck drivers in the EU!

The problem is the lockdowns imposed to control Covid, which meant that no new truck drivers could be trained or tested, and now there is a backlog of 40,000 applicants in the UK. As a result, supermarkets and petrol stations were sometimes in short supply, but there was no major problem - until the media decided to report the 'shortages' and create panic.

The fuel companies have also been promoting the story that we need EU drivers as they want to keep wages down by importing cheaper foreign workers rather than increase wages. Brexit was meant to drive wages up for the lower paid - that's why these people voted for it! And yes, Brexit is working, and wages are going up - so that's a good thing.

Brexit will make the UK a better place to live for the less well off section of society. It may take a couple of years, but we are getting there.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Grocer....Provides a balanced review...

The real causes of the HGV driver shortage and why we can’t blame it all on Brexit

https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/supply-chain/the-real-causes-of-the-hgv-driver-shortage-and-why-we-cant-blame-it-all-on-brexit/659841.article

Brexit plays a role, more in the visa restrictions, highlighting the shocking disrespectful treatment/conditions the road haulage industry treat there drivers.

The poultry sector is in a league all of its own, with the ruthless exploitation of its workforce.

UK chicken farming puts workers and food safety at risk....

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/dec/22/uk-chicken-farming-puts-workers-and-food-safety-at-risk

2015, Guardian investigation, it is widely accepted that the conditions have worsened

Brexit has finally brought front center the manner both the poultry, and road haulage sectors have weaponized freedom of movement to create the most toxic and degrading working environments.

Until legislation is enacted to purge the UK employment market of such cynical exploitation.

Then full visa restrictions remain.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oil arrives in the country on sea tankers at British ports. Nothing to do with Brexit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It astonishing the power and influence of industry lobby groups and there rather corrupt relationship with past and present government.

As a once EU member state, UK government still had the sovereign legislative means at its disposal to nip these ghastly practices in the bud. Fake self employment, "piece work", pattern/zero hours.

However a blind eye was turned.

The reason why there are fist fights, panic buying at the pumps, a lack of tanker drivers, is not Brexit, the driver have turned there back on the industry.

Fed up at being treated like something nasty their employers have trod in.

View the ONS average age of the drivers starting from 2005....It is a key statistic.

The industry failed to replace these drivers at retirement.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oil arrives in the country on sea tankers at British ports. Nothing to do with Brexit.

But once the oil is ashore it is refined in UK refineries and from there is transported to end users in tank trucks. There is a shortage of drivers in part attributable to Brexit, leading to an inability of shippers to meet the demand for fuel at gas stations around UK.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I read this yesterday, a very informative article, by people who should know, unlike the scaremongering MSM causing panic buying by gullible public. For those who blame Brexit, its been over 5 years since the referendum, the industry has had plenty of time to make arrangements.

itsonlyrocknrollSep. 29  05:41 am JST

The Grocer....Provides a balanced review...

The real causes of the HGV driver shortage and why we can’t blame it all on Brexit

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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