Scotland has ‘adequate petrol supply for normal demand’

Deputy first minister John Swinney said there had been discussions with fuel suppliers in Scotland.

Scotland has ‘adequate petrol supply for normal demand’ PA Media

Scotland has an adequate petrol supply to meet normal purchasing patterns, John Swinney has said, though a spike in demand could lead to pumps running out quickly.

The deputy first minister said the Scottish Government had spoken to fuel suppliers about distribution problems in recent days.

On Sunday the UK Government suspended competition laws to allow suppliers to target petrol stations which are running low.

As well as the shortage of HGV drivers, the industry has blamed “panic buying” from consumers for queues at forecourts around the UK.

Discussing the situation on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme on Monday, Swinney said Brexit was to blame for the lack of drivers.

He said: “There is an adequate supply of fuel to meet normal demand, but it does hinge on being able to distribute that fuel to all locations.

“From my experience of dealing with difficulties about fuel supply in the past, when we had industrial action amongst tanker drivers, supply can run out very quickly because the petrol stations are being replenished with supply on a really very regular basis.”

He continued: “In a normal purchasing pattern then, I’m confident there is a distribution arrangement in place that can adequately supply those petrol stations.

“But obviously, if there is an increased demand for fuel, then that will put pressure on the distribution companies in being able to meet that demand in all locations around the country.”

Asked about the supply of goods for Christmas, the deputy first minister said that in addition to the shortage of drivers, Brexit had also caused problems with trade between Scotland and the continent.

He said: “It’s not just about the distribution arrangements, challenging though those are, it is also about the fact that the UK Government opted for an absolutely appalling arrangement with the European Union, which could have been avoided if it followed the advice we gave them to maintain membership of the single market.”

Swinney said the Scottish Government had not been in discussions with the Army about using soldiers to drive petrol tankers to stations.

The Prime Minister is reported to have been considering calling in the military to assist with fuel supply.

The Scottish Government drafted in soldiers to help drive non-emergency vehicles for the Scottish Ambulance Service amid pressure on the NHS, an arrangement which Swinney said would be reviewed in November.

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