Boris Johnson has ordered the army to remain on standby to help fuel reach petrol stations hit by panic buying, as Keir Starmer and businesses called on him to get a grip on the shortages rippling across the economy.
No 10 said army drivers would be ready to help deliver petrol and diesel on a short-term basis, but stopped short of an immediate deployment, even though some essential workers have not been able to carry out their jobs without fuel.
The decision was taken at a meeting of cabinet ministers on Monday, as the industry said consumer panic – rather than real shortages – was the main driver of the problems, and predicted that it would ease within days.
People continued to queue at fuel stations in spite of government warnings that drivers trying to top up were making the situation worse.
“The UK continues to have strong supplies of fuel. However, we are aware of supply chain issues at fuel station forecourts and are taking steps to ease these as a matter of priority,” he said. “If required, the deployment of military personnel will provide the supply chain with additional capacity as a temporary measure to help ease pressures caused by spikes in localised demand for fuel.”