Boris Johnson warns supply problems 'could continue until Christmas'
- Credit: PA
Supply chain problems could continue until Christmas, as Boris Johnson admitted he has known for months that the UK's haulage industry was in trouble.
On the opening day of the Tory Party Conference in Manchester, the Prime Minister insisted the fuel crisis was "abating" despite continuing reports of long queues for petrol in some parts of the country.
He acknowledged the UK economy was facing "stresses and strains" as it moved away from the "broken model" which, he said, had been rejected by voters in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
But Mr Johnson insisted he would not solve the issues in the labour market - which have led to warnings of shortages on the shelves in the run-up to the festive season - by pulling "the big lever marked uncontrolled immigration" to allow in large numbers of foreign workers.
This comes after the chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) warned, on Saturday October 2, that fuel shortages remain a big problem in parts of East Anglia.
Brian Madderson said issues are getting worse in some parts of the country and drivers should expect higher prices at petrol pumps as a result.
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Today, on Norfolk Facebook groups and online forums drivers are still asking “what stations have petrol?” - as they try to plan their journeys for the week ahead.
On Sunday [October 3] Norfolk-based coach firm Sanders Coaches was forced to cancel all of its services.
A spokesman announced on Friday that it was limiting some weekend services while it awaited a fuel delivery.
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Asked on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show about a warning by Chancellor Rishi Sunak that shortages could continue to Christmas, Mr Johnson said: "Rishi is invariably right in everything he says."
He then added hurriedly: "It depends how you interpret what he is saying."
Mr Johnson was also pressed on a warning given by the Road Haulage Association which wrote to him in June saying a major crisis was building in their industry due to the shortage of HGV drivers.
The Prime Minister said: "We have known about shortages in road haulage long before then. They have been a chronic feature of the way the road haulage industry has worked."