UK

Fuel companies can fill up rivals’ petrol station tanks to stop forecourts running dry 

Fuel companies can fill up rivals’ petrol station tanks after ministers agree law change to stop forecourts running dry

  • Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng agreed to the plan with other ministers
  • It comes as the Government tries to stop the economy grinding to a half
  • Labour says Government has not gone far enough to tackle shortfall in drivers 
  • Across mainland Europe, the total number of drivers is down by 400,000 


Fuel suppliers will be allowed to fill up rival companies’ petrol station tanks in a bid to stop forecourts running dry, ministers have agreed.

The Government suspended competition laws to allow businesses to work together so they can see where there are shortages and address them.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng agreed the plan with other ministers on Sunday evening as the Government tried to stop the economy grinding to a halt.

A joint statement from energy and logistics companies including Shell, ExxonMobil and Wincanton last night said: ‘We are in regular contact with ministers and policy officials and it was reassuring to meet with the Business Secretary again on Sunday evening and discuss further action.’ It also reassured drivers there is ‘not a national shortage of fuel’.

Fuel suppliers will be allowed to fill up rival companies’ petrol station tanks in a bid to stop forecourts running dry. Pictured: An Esso garage in Lewisham had no petrol available on Sunday

It comes as Labour yesterday urged ministers to allow in 100,000 foreign lorry drivers to tackle the shortfall brought on by Brexit, workers retiring and delays to HGV driving tests caused by Covid.

Ministers this weekend caved into pressure and relaxed visa rules to allow 5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers into the UK on three-month contracts.

But Sir Keir Starmer said yesterday that the Government had not gone far enough. The Labour leader told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘I’m astonished the Government is not acting today. The Prime Minister needs to say today what he is going to do.’

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng agreed to a plan to allow fuel suppliers to fill up rival companies¿ petrol station tanks in a bid to stop forecourts running dry, on Sunday evening as the Government tried to stop the economy grinding to a halt

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng agreed to a plan to allow fuel suppliers to fill up rival companies’ petrol station tanks in a bid to stop forecourts running dry, on Sunday evening as the Government tried to stop the economy grinding to a halt

When asked if he would allow in more than 100,000 drivers to tackle the shortfall, Sir Keir said: ‘We have to issue enough visas to cover the number of drivers that we need.’

Across mainland Europe, the total number of drivers is down by 400,000. It comes as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps urged furloughed workers to retrain as truckers as the scheme comes to an end.

He told the BBC show: ‘There are 1.6million people coming off furlough this month. The British people should be able to skill up and take these jobs and we shouldn’t keep undercutting people.’

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