Fuel Tanker Strike
Asked whether there was any new information to add on the potential fuel tanker drivers strike, the PMS said she had no further information to add.
Asked whether the government was advising people to fill their cars up, the PMS said that it was important that people look at their own contingency plans, as should there be a dispute then disruption was inevitable. The government is doing what it can regarding contingencies but the key message to those involved in the dispute is to get around the table to discuss the issues rather than strike.
Asked whether it was irresponsible to tell people to consider contingencies, the PMS said that crucially the fuel supply is still unaffected. What the government does know is that there are plans for strike action and it is prudent to have contingency plans in place.
Asked whether the government would consider tapping into fuel reserves, the PMS said that ministers were meeting regularly to look at contingency options but the PMS would not comment on specifics. The issue of reserves was discussed with President Obama on the recent trip to the United States and any use of reserves would have to be done with international agreement. At the moment fuel supplies are being delivered without any problem.
Asked whether ministers were taking action to avert the industrial action, the PMS said that ministers were urging the unions and employees to discuss the issues rather than take strike action. Health and safety was one of the issues and the government was prepared to look at this as a priority.
Asked whether the PM was prepared to get involved in the contingency planning, the PMS said that to an extent the PM was already involved as he had discussed the issue at Cabinet and was receiving regular briefings.
Asked whether the government would advise people to seek alternative forms of travel over Easter, the PMS said that we were not currently in that situation. The government wants the public to be aware of the potential disruption, and individuals and businesses should be aware of their own contingency plans.
Asked whether the government was considering looking abroad to source fuel tanker drivers, the PMS said that the government was considering all options.
Asking which minister had been leading discussions, the PMS said Francis Maude had been chairing meetings.
Asked whether ministers had been meeting on a daily basis, the PMS said that they had been meeting on a regular basis.
Asked whether the government had any comment on the findings of a leaked report on last summer’s riots, the PMS said the government did not comment on leaked documents.
Asked whether the PM was confident the Christmas card industry would survive beyond Christmas given the rise in stamp prices, the PMS said that the PM was confident and welcomed the news that Royal Mail were offering low-income families Christmas stamps at reduced prices.