Scottish Government urged to prioritise key workers in fuel crisis
The Scottish Government has been urged to take steps to prioritise key workers in the event of fuel shortages.
Yesterday, Deputy First Minister John Swinney told Good Morning Scotland that there was “an adequate supply of fuel to meet normal demand, but it does hinge on being able to distribute that fuel to all locations."
Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "I understand that the Deputy First Minister does not want to panic anyone but I hope he is displaying more urgency in solving this crisis behind the scenes than he did in this interview. Fuel is no use to anyone if it is sat in depots or in the backs of tankers without a driver.
"In the event that the current shortages are sustained and supplies at the pump begin to dwindle, the public will want to be reassured that NHS staff and other key workers will be given priority access to fuel. These essential services must be kept running while ministers get to grips with these supply issues.
"It would be unforgivable if nurses and doctors were struggling to get to work or schools forced to close."
The British Medical Association has also warned of the impact on the the NHS.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the doctors' union said: “Everyone will have their own reasons for needing to fill up, but as pumps run dry there is a real risk that NHS staff won’t be able to do their jobs and provide vital services and care to people who urgently need it. Healthcare and essential workers must therefore be given priority access to fuel so they can continue their crucial work and guarantee care to patients.”
Last night Boris Johnson asked the armed forces for 150 military personnel to drive tankers, with up to 80 ready for deployment by the end of this week.
The government and industry believe the crisis will abate in the next few days, with panic buying subsiding as drivers fill up their cars.
The fuel industry — including BP, Esso and Shell — issued a joint statement urging people to stop panic buying.
They said: “There is plenty of fuel at UK refineries and terminals, and as an industry we are working closely with the government to help ensure fuel is available to be delivered to stations across the country.
"As many cars are now holding more fuel than usual we expect that demand will return to its normal levels in the coming days, easing pressures on fuel station forecourts. We would encourage everyone to buy fuel as they usually would.”