Live updates on fuel shortage as military goes on hold

Professional association accused of “triggering” panic buying

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps accused a trade association in the transport industry of “triggering” the “supply crisis” through “irresponsible briefings” to the public.

Although Mr Shapps did not name the group, the Mail on Sunday reported a government source saying the Road Haulage Association was “entirely responsible for this panic and chaos”.

When asked if the government had ignored warnings for months about an upcoming shortage in the food and beverage industry, Mr Shapps told Sky’s Trevor Phillips: ‘That’s not true – we have already doubled the capacity, so it is not true that nothing has been done.

“Let’s not pretend that this is a UK specific problem, it is not. In Europe, for example in Poland, the shortage is 123,000 drivers, so there is no not just one new point to be eliminated, there is no one simple solution to this, but we have, despite the shortages, managed to make sure that gasoline always arrives at gas stations, food arrives at the stores.

“I’m afraid there was a rather irresponsible briefing by one of the road transport associations, which helped trigger a crisis, and it’s very, very unnecessary, it’s counterproductive.

“I know they are desperate to have more European drivers cutting UK wages, I know that was their demand from the start.

“We actually think it’s important that this country can train people, that people can have a good day’s work, that they are paid well for this work, and that the long-term solution cannot be to cut UK wages and to have a constant vicious cycle of not being able to train people here and employ them with decent wages. “

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