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Fuel shortages remain a 'major problem' in London and South-East, Tory chair tells LBC

3 October 2021, 10:44 | Updated: 3 October 2021, 12:11

Oliver Dowden: Fuel crisis 'stabilising and improving'

By Sophie Barnett

The chair of the Conservative Party Oliver Dowden has told LBC there are clearly "significant challenges" with fuel supply in London and the South-East, but insisted the crisis is "stabilising" in other parts of the country.

The Conservative MP for Hertsmere made the comments on Swarbrick on Sunday, which was broadcasted live from the Tory conference in Manchester.

He told Tom: "Clearly there are significant challenges still, particularly in London and the South-East of England.

"I know people's deep anger and frustration, as I live in that area and I know the challenges."

He added that the situation in Manchester, where the conference is being held, is improving.

He said there are "plenty" of stations that have petrol, and that wasn't the case this time last week.

He said with the exception of London and the South-East, which is "clearly a major problem", the situation is stabilising and returning to normal.

Read more: 'Horrendous' petrol crisis worsens in London and South-East as price of fuel soars

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He said the government has introduced more than 24 measures to improve the situation, including the amount of time people can drive for and renewing HGV driver licences.

Boris Johnson has insisted that the situation at filling station forecourts is finally "stabilising" following the days of panic buying.

Speaking during a visit to Leeds General Infirmary, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government would keep the situation regarding temporary visas for lorry drivers under review.

However, he said the haulage industry should not expect to rely on low-wage immigrant labour.

"Of course we keep everything under review but what we don't want to do is go back to a situation in which we basically allowed the road haulage industry to be sustained with a lot of low-wage immigration that meant that wages didn't go up and the quality of the job didn't go up," he said.

"The weird thing is now that people don't want to go into the road haulage industry, don't want to be lorry drivers, precisely because you have that mass immigration approach."

In a drastic bid to end the chaos that has overwhelmed pumps over the last week, soldiers will start delivering petrol to forecourts from Monday.

The Government said on Friday that just under 200 military tanker personnel - of which 100 are drivers - have finished their training and are ready to be deployed.

The Petrol Retailers Association, Brian Madderson, welcomed the deployment of the army as he described the situation in the South-East as "absolutely horrendous".

He told LBC on Sunday: "Early signs from our polls this morning show again that the Midlands, North and Scotland, are doing pretty well, and more and more of their filling stations are getting stock. There is far less stock out and far less surge buying.

"Normality is creeping in to that part of the country, but London and the South-East are absolutely horrendous."

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