Motorists urged not to panic buy fuel; supermarket prices ‘to rise within weeks’ – business live

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The UK transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said he would “move heaven and earth” to solve the nationwide shortage of truck drivers that threatens fuel supplies at some petrol stations, adding that motorists should not panic as the problem would be “smoothed out relatively quickly”.

Shapps said he would consider all options, including the possibility of issuing short-term skilled worker visas to tap mainland Europe’s pool of potential HGV drivers.

“I’ll look at everything,” he told Sky News.

“I wouldn’t rule anything out. We will move heaven and earth to do whatever it takes to make sure shortages are alleviated with HGV drivers.”

The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has claimed Boris Johnson asked him for an “emergency” deal to ease shortages of an unspecified food product, amid concerns about further disruption to supermarket supplies.

A lack of drivers and food pickers, as well as carbon dioxide used to stun animals for slaughter and create dry ice to keep food fresh, has led to fears that some goods will be missing from shelves in the run-up to Christmas.

Downing Street has urged people not to panic-buy, after the announcement by BP that there may be a lack of fuel at some petrol stations and the managing director of Iceland supermarket warned food supplies could come under threat within days, not weeks.

Government insiders worry about a return to the days leading up to the first coronavirus lockdown, where shelves were left bare as people stockpiled items such as toilet roll.

Bolsonaro made the claim about Johnson’s request after a meeting between them in New York earlier this week at the UN general assembly. The prime minister had stressed the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine to his Brazilian counterpart.

However, speaking in his weekly webcast to supporters, Bolsonaro recalled that Johnson “wants an emergency agreement with us to import some kind of food that is lacking in England”, according to Reuters, though he did not specify what the product was.

It is understood the UK government regards the claim as untrue. More here.