'Hammer out a plan': Ashworth's message for Javid as key workers struggle for fuel

28 September 2021, 17:42

Ashworth takes swipe at Javid

By Fiona Jones

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth sent his Cabinet counterpart Sajid Javid a message on LBC: "hammer out a plan" to tackle fuel panic-buying instead of "keeping your head down."

The wave of people panic-buying fuel across England has entered its fifth day, with pumps running dry and long queues continuing outside petrol stations.

LBC has seen footage of a man brandishing what appeared to be a knife at a petrol station and there were further violent scenes at forecourts in England. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today urged calm saying there were "tentative signs" that the situation is easing, but queues are nonetheless likely to remain for the next few days.

Calls for medics and emergency workers to jump the fuel queue have strengthened, with the British Medical Association announcing that health and care workers "can't afford" to spend hours waiting for fuel and patients could suffer.

A doctor in Kent exclusively told LBC he will have to sleep in his surgery so he can be there for patients during the fuel crisis.

Exclusive: 'I'll have to sleep at work to keep surgery open': GP reveals impact of fuel panic to LBC

GP considers sleeping in work over fuel crisis

Speaking to LBC's Shelagh Fogarty from the Labour Party conference in Brighton, the shadow health secretary said, "I want to say something very directly to Sajid Javid if he is listening or if his staff are listening.

"We have had bodies who represent care workers, we've had bodies like the BMA and the GMB saying we need a plan to let health and care workers get access to petrol so they are not blocked from getting to the bedsides of patients.

"Sajid Javid, if you're listening: get the BMA, the Royal College of Nurses, the social care bodies, get them round a table or a Zoom call now. Hammer out a plan, don't keep your head down and hope this blows over.

"This is urgent."

The shadow health secretary proposed that if Mr Javid arranged an agreement with those who represent key workers, "then you will help settle down peoples' panic as they will go out and say no there is a plan in place."

"At the moment people don't know what's happening...sort it out."

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