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The blame game is back as this week the UK is in a frenzy about its current fuel shortages.
This comes shortly after the nation heard about drastic lack of HGV drivers and therefore bare supermarket shelves in some instances. Grant Shapps, secretary of state for transport, has since acknowledged that the dreaded Brexit definitely will have played a part in the situation (source: The Independent), with Covid-19 also to blame for slowing the training of new drivers.
In terms of the public, we do all like to blame each other too. This pandemic seems to have induced a generation of panic-buyers, and while there are some idiots doing this, I do think it’s worth a moment of anyone’s time before getting out the phone camera/video to blame and shame as there will be businesses who genuinely need fuel, and routinely need to fill up jerry cans as part of their job and not for selfish reasons (our tree surgeon said he got some funny looks filling up his yesterday – we are very lucky he turned up at all).
Additionally, some stations have had to impose £30 spending limits on fuel, which is affecting operations further. Food charity FareShare’s Cymru branch, which organises food donations to more than 150 groups, has reported it is struggling with imposed restrictions and delays. Operations manager Gerry Molan commented that if the current situation “carries on, then it could put real constraints on what we can distribute.” (Source: BBC News)
It does seem like a double-edged sword, the government telling people not to panic but then the media constantly reporting on the shortages.
In terms of the knock-on effects for the food & drink industries, for now I think we must trust that the supply chain is robust but understand it’s not immune from disruptions. Pointing fingers will only exacerbate the problem, and with social media mania ever-present, it pays to err on the side of caution here.
- Alex Rivers, Bell Publishing digital editor
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