2021-09-25 05:59:09 In Britain, Rising Prices and Shortages Evoke 1970s-Style Jitters
In Britain, Rising Prices and Shortages Evoke 1970s-Style Jitters
For the opposition Labour Party, which has struggled to criticize the government amid the national unity inspired by the pandemic, blaming the Tories on the high cost of living is a simple strategy. Some analysts predict a series of humiliating setbacks for Mr. Johnson, beginning with the potential ramifications of the tax increases.
“When articles about a return to the Seventies appear in Conservative papers, that’s a flashing red flag for a Conservative government,” said Tony Travers, a professor of politics at the London School of Economics. He quoted a British political adage: “Oppositions don’t win elections; governments do.”
The threat of fuel shortages seemed to loom the largest on Friday. Long lines formed at some gas stations in London, though others reported normal operations. Priya Dela, a cashier at a busy Texaco station in West Norwood, southeast London, predicted that her station would run out of fuel by the end of the day.
Ragu Thangavel, manager of an Esso station in Brighton, said he was out of diesel by Friday morning and expected to be out of all fuel by the evening. “Long lines have been forming since this morning,” he said, adding that he had not been told when his next delivery would arrive.
BP, the oil giant, announced that several of its stations had closed due to a lack of unleaded and diesel-grade fuel. Tesco, a supermarket chain that also operates gas stations, announced temporary closures in a few areas. The issue, according to Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, is not a lack of fuel, but a lack of trained truck drivers to transport it.
The difficulty in locating and compensating qualified drivers extends beyond the fuel industry. With drivers retiring and replacements being held up due to the pandemic, the labor pool has shrunk even as demand has increased. Wages have risen as a result. To retain his fleet of approximately 60 drivers, Tom Binks, managing director of Peter Green Chilled, a refrigerated and frozen food transport company, said he has had to increase pay by 35% since April.