Thursday 7 October 2021 3:53 pm

Panic buying lifts spending to pre-pandemic levels

Brits frantically stock piling petrol amid a country-wide fear of being unable to secure fuel lifted spending to pre-pandemic levels.

The boost to pre-Covid parity was fuelled by sharp increases in work-related spending, which includes purchases of petrol, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 

Work-related spending was 158 per cent above the tally recorded in February last year, rising 40 percentage points in the last week alone.

Brits were galvanised to rush to pumps and stockpile petrol in recent weeks on reports of low stock levels of fuel at forecourts across the country.

Rampant spending stoked petrol shortages, causing forecourt operators to impose limits on the amount of petrol consumers could buy. 

Forecourts typically do not stock more petrol to fulfill higher than average demand.

The petrol crisis was primarily caused by the British logistics system breaking down due to a shortage of HGV drivers.

Alarmingly, the ONS also released data showing the chronic paucity of lorry drivers is unlikely to end anytime soon.

Vacancies for transport, logistics and warehouse workers were 378 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels. Total job adverts increased three per cent over the last week.

Meanwhile, the proportion of workers back in their normal place of work edged up two percentage points to 72 per cent, a trend that has steadily increased over the past couple of months as Brits return to the office.