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Shops body warns of food crisis
Bread, meat and fresh goods could be off the shelves by the weekend if the fuel crisis continues, shop bosses have warned.
And some shoppers have already reported rationing of bread at some nationwide supermarkets.
The British Retail Consortium say shops stocks of some fresh goods will run out leaving the shelves empty by the weekend.
It predicts fresh foods will run out as stocks run down - which cannot be replaced if the deliveries are blocked through fuel shortages.
"At the moment all our retailers say they have enough stocks of food to get through to the weekend," a spokesman for the British Retail Consortium said.
"There is plenty of stocks in the shop, but the first to be hit will be chilled and perishable, fresh foods, vegatables, meat and chicken, which are delivered daily or sometimes more than once a day. We will have problems towards the end of the week."
Although stores have not yet reported panic buying they have been busier than normal - with people buying more food - just in case.
"Stores have been busier, people are buying a lot more across the board and when asked why they say because they will not be able jump in the car and go to the supermarket more than once this week.
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 12, 2000
Tue Sep 12, 12:51 pm
British fuel crisis prompts emergency measures
Nearly half of Britain's 13,000 filling stations have run dry, resulting in hospitals cancelling non-emergency services and garbage remaining uncollected on the streets.
Prime Minister Tony Blair convened a crisis meeting with key officials Monday to deal with the fuel crisis, which has provoked protests and blockades across much of Europe.
The government of Britain has given itself the power after getting the Queen to sign a decree giving it emergency powers to make sure the ongoing protests don't keep essential services such as hospitals from getting the fuel they need.
Police in London used the new authority to clear roads leading to oil refineries, many of which have been blockaded by truckers, farmers and taxi drivers. They are also staging protests by driving at a snail's pace down highways.
They're upset because drivers in Britain pay $1.75 a litre, the highest gas prices in Europe. Nearly 80 per cent of that cost is government taxes.
As the blockades continue and people stock up as they can, many service stations in northern England and Scotland have run out of gas, with shortages spreading to the southeast, hitting central London late on Monday.
But Prime Minister Tony Blair won't change government policy to ease the pressure.
"We cannot and will not alter government policy on petrol through blockades and pickets," said Blair. "That is not the way to make policy."
Instead, the government "evoked powers under the Energy Act 1976 as a prudent and precautionary measure," said a statement from the Department of Trade and Industry.
The government says this will allow it to ensure available supplies of gasoline, diesel and heating oil are available to essential services.
Last week, France went through similar protests, and now the anger with the protests it inspires has spread to other countries in Western Europe.
For the third day, truckers in Belgium are blockading the streets leading to the capital Brussels.
They vow to keep it up for weeks unless the government lowers gas prices.
France agreed on the weekend to a 15-per-cent reduction in gas taxes.
-- Rachel Gibson (email@example.com), September 12, 2000.
It's a fundamental truism that food shortages follow furel shortages.
-- Uncle Fred (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 12, 2000.
I guess France escaped that follow-up by a hair.
-- Loner (email@example.com), September 12, 2000.