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UK suspends competition law to get petrol to forecourts

September 27, 2021 11:05 am

The government is to suspend competition law to allow oil firms to target fuel deliveries at petrol stations following recent panic buying.

Officials said the move would make it easier for companies to share information and prioritise parts of the country most at need.

It follows days of long queues at the pumps, after fears of disruption to the fuel supply sparked panic buying.

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Ministers are also considering deploying the Army to deliver fuel.

The option is under discussion, and could be discussed at a possible cabinet meeting on Monday.

The Petrol Retailers Association has warned that as many as two-thirds of its membership of nearly 5,500 independent outlets are out of fuel, with the rest of them “partly dry and running out soon”.

Announcing the measure to exempt the oil industry from the Competition Act 1998, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the government had “long-standing” contingency plans in place to maintain fuel supplies.

“While there has always been and continues to be plenty of fuel at refineries and terminals, we are aware that there have been some issues with supply chains.

“This is why we will enact the Downstream Oil Protocol to ensure industry can share vital information and work together more effectively to ensure disruption is minimised.

“We thank HGV drivers and all forecourt staff for their tireless work during this period.”

The government also relaxed competition law in March 2020, to help supermarkets work together to maintain food supplies.

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