Boris Johnson ‘on fuel crisis stand-by’

AT this rate it looks like basic fuel provision will be under pressure for some time to come.

This means long queues at petrol stations and that some forecourts will be closed altogether.

For businesses, it is an additional burden that will push a percentage of contracts over the edge, shut down certain lines and in the worst cases contribute to closure.

The panic-buying shows how much people believe the UK Government’s assurances and value its advice.

It is a symptom of lack of trust in the sticking-plaster policies and back-of-a-fag-packet manifesto.

Announcing the Army is on stand-by, all the while knowing the military’s ability to do anything directly related to the delivery of fuel to the civilian population is limited, and temporary lifting of visa restrictions are the kinds of promises that do little more than buy the protagonists a bit more time.

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The message from industry in the UK is the visa move was way too little, way too late, and, in Europe, hauliers say they can’t see drivers giving up full-time jobs to provide temporary cover for the British to be laid off at Christmas.

Each week more major international and Scottish-based businesses list their woes, mostly either staff or supply chain-related, but all stemming from the backdrop Brexit created as the world contended with the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares in Edinburgh-based Parsley Box lost more than a third of their value at one stage this week as the provider of ready meals warned that staffing issues throughout its supply chain have cut its available stock by half.

The business has placed a moratorium on new customers and opted to reduce spending on marketing until the level of constraint subsides.

HeraldScotland: Boris Johnson will have to review the situation if it deteriorates further.Boris Johnson will have to review the situation if it deteriorates further.

Kit Malthouse dutifully informs the populace once again that if things deteriorate, the Prime Minister will step in.

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The future of Scotland’s ferries came under the spotlight in business editor Ian McConnell’s Called to Account column this week as the issue of privatisation of CalMac surfaced again.

He points out: “What it is crucial to remember amid the current woe is that the vessel breakdowns and troubles essentially amount to an investment issue.”

The high street took another body blow this week when Virgin Money, the owner of the former Clydesdale Bank, announced that it is to axe branches in Scotland in a move described as “shameful” by the Unite Scotland union.

The downward spiral of our town centres could be stemmed, it is suggested, in deputy business editor Scott Wright’s opinion piece, in which he flags an interesting report chaired by Leigh Sparks, professor of retail studies at the University of Stirling, and writes: “Among its more eye-catching proposals was for the creation of strategic acquisition fund to help local businesses and community groups take ownership of and develop vacant units.”

As the coronavirus job retention scheme, claimed to have protected 11.6 million jobs to this point, drew to a close this week, it came under business correspondent Kristy Dorsey’s scrutiny.

She writes of furlough: “In what is arguably the most entangled employment market in a good many decades, progress in tackling UK labour shortages and the paradoxical threat of rising job losses is less a high wire balancing act and more of a flying trapeze performance with multiple operatives in play.”

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The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992