You may have seen the long queues forming outside UK petrol stations over the past 72hrs. But how will this effect the SMEs of our country?
In short, petrol stations have been unable to keep up with the demand and have either had to close or deter people from stock-piling. However, oil companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil and Greenergy, have stressed that there is no fuel shortage. So why the urgency for petrol?
Oil companies say that pressures on supply were being caused by “temporary spikes in customer demand” and not because there is a shortage of fuel.
It was also announced last night that the UK government have put the army on standby to ease the stresses of the crisis. It was revealed that up to 150 military tankers will prepare to deliver to petrol stations which have run dry because of the panic buying.
What does this mean for UK SMEs?
There are mounting calls for key workers such as health and social care staff to receive priority access to fuel where it is available. However, it is the UK businesses that are warning the fuel crisis will hit them the hardest, ultimately having repercussions for the UK’s ‘crisis-prone’ economy. There are cases up and down the country where UK small businesses aren’t receiving their deliveries, which will cause financial damage further down the line.
Manufacturer of a popular fizzy drink, AG Barr has revealed that the UK’s supply chain issues have made it harder to make deliveries. This trouble has counteracted the reported rise in sales and earnings as the hospitality industry is recuperating.
However, some economists are reassuring UK companies that fuel shortages won’t cause much damage to the economy – as long as they are resolved quickly.
Companies may suffer if many of their employees are spending time queuing for petrol instead of working, while consumers will be hit due to a decrease in disposable income due to the price increases.
This may not be the news some were hoping for in the wake of the news of Labour’s Shadow Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, expressing his concerns over it’s “utter incompetence”, and it’s handling of Brexit. Yesterday, Germany’s front-runner to replace Angela Merkel as chancellor said the UK’s truck driver shortage was due to the end of freedom of movement after Brexit.
Reflective of the panic buying we experienced at the start of the pandemic, there are reports that once buying habits have normalised that there are plenty of petrol in the refineries and normal service will be resumed.
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