Standstill Britain: Business

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The Independent Online

Shops and industries across Britain would run out of supplies by the weekend and redundancies would follow because of the fuel blockades, companies warned yesterday.

Shops and industries across Britain would run out of supplies by the weekend and redundancies would follow because of the fuel blockades, companies warned yesterday.

Andrew Parkinson, of the British Chambers of Commerce, said he knew of a steel processing plant in the Midlands that would shut tomorrow, laying off 120 workers temporarily as it could not get materials or deliver supplies.

Terry Slater, a director for the Engineering Employers Federation, said the position was made worse by the widespread use of "just-in-time" delivery practices, where companies keep stocks to a minimum to save money. "If they can't get their supplies, they can't manufacture. Lay-offs will start."

James Frost, chairman of the petrol retailer Save Group, said supermarkets would be the next sector to be hit. There were also reports of food delivery and courier services drying up.

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