Competition law suspended after panic buying of fuel

The UK government is suspending competition law in the fuel industry to help tackle shortages.

It comes after days of long queues at petrol stations triggered by fears that a shortage of lorry drivers was disrupting fuel supplies.

As a temporary measure, companies will be permitted to share information and prioritise parts of the country most in need.

A joint statement from companies including Shell, BP and ExxonMobil stressed that pressures on supply were being caused by “temporary spikes in customer demand, not a national shortage of fuel”.

The Petrol Retailers Association, which represents nearly 5,500 independent outlets, warned on Monday that as many as two-thirds of its members are out of fuel, with the rest of them “partly dry and running out soon”, BBC News reported.

Brexit is “obviously a contributory factor” to the shortage of HGV drivers that is having an impact across the economy, according to the shadow chancellor.

“To deny that I think flies in the face of reality,” Rachel Reeves told Sky News.

“There are other problems as well, an ageing workforce, problems with the pandemic.

“But when you cut off a supply of labour which we did when we left the European Union then you are of course contributing and adding to problems.”