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Fighting for fuel

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Motorists across the UK began to panic buy fuel yesterday after the Cabinet Minister Officer, Francis Maude urged people to fill up jerry cans to ease the problem of fuel shortages.

Panic buying is the outcome of tanker drivers balloting to strike over terms and conditions of their contract which could potentially leave pumps empty and motorists with no fuel over the Easter weekend. The Government assured motorists earlier this week that army officers will be trained to deliver fuel if the strike goes ahead.

The suggestion resulted in many forecourts facing queues and empty pumps when motorists began to fill up. Areas including Liverpool, Dorset, Manchester, Leeds and Cheshire were forced to close due to no fuel and some stations limited drivers to an amount they could fill up to.

Motoring groups and the Fire Brigades Union have called upon the Cabinet Minister to withdraw the advice of filling up jerry cans because of the potential hazards this can cause storing them at home.

However hours later Prime Minister David Cameron warned motorists not to panic buy but to simply top up their tank if possible. Comments were also made regarding the justification of tanker drivers going ahead with the strike.

David Cameron said: “I do not want a strike to take place; I hope the talks will be successful, but in Government you always have to prepare for every eventuality.

“The British people would expect that. To the British people themselves I would say look, there is no imminent strike. The unions would have to give seven days’ notice of any strike so there is no need to queue to buy petrol.

“If there is an opportunity to top up your tank if a strike is potentially on the way, then it is a sensible thing if you are able to do that.

“There is no case for a strike.”

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By Amanda Bainbridge