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Fuel shortages in the UK?

Graham wrote:

The storage tanks at a gas station, at least in this country, are not that big

How large are they?

This is not rocket science, and it’s not voodoo magic either. The entire issue is as simple as getting fuel from storage A to storage B, before storage B runs empty. Now, if for some reason the supply is scaled down to a point where no variation in demand whatsoever is tolerated, this will cause a problem sooner or later. The problem will be a cascade of empty storage Bs. This is not JiT, this is communist style lazily planned economy gone wrong (as it always does).

The only thing to learn from this, is the supply from A to B cannot be trusted. The only way a person can mitigate this, is to have a personal buffer of fuel. This may be as simple as filling up the tank in the car, and perhaps a jerry can or two (although people get tired of jerry cans pretty fast). The other option is of course to get an electric car

What happens when people themselves have a buffer, is that the price becomes much more important. People will buy in larger volumes whenever and wherever it is cheaper. The different brands will soon take advantage of this, and cut the prices regularly for shorter periods. This will create a very different supply dynamic. The companies will fill up B, then cut the prices and sell lots of fuel cheaper until B is almost empty, it takes perhaps a short day or something. Every extra liter sold at brand A, is one liter less at brand B.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

is to have a personal buffer of fuel.

Yes; some jerrycans. Two of them equal a full tank in the car. That’s enough for 1 month of a diesel car for us.

We have some for garden machinery, a couple of backup generators, etc. However, you can’t just fill them up without joining the car queue; you risk getting beaten up otherwise.

@LFHNflightstudent

The UK government owes me over half a million in tax I paid too much last year, they’ve been dicking me around since April, admit they owe me the money but due to Covid there is only one person who can pay me the money they owe me.

Having discussed this around, there has to be much more to this story, because, for a start, you can appoint anyone to be your agent and receive the payment e.g. a firm of accountants. I get my tax refunds that way. There are other trivial solutions for receiving 500k e.g. renting an apartment for a few months, getting some utility bills and establishing a “residence identity” – this is what homeless people are busy doing when they offer to look after the elderly (they open a ton of bank accounts before they move on; I had this with my mum) HMRC isn’t going to be doing anything “personal”.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

Having discussed this around, there has to be much more to this story, because, for a start, you can appoint anyone to be your agent and receive the payment e.g. a firm of accountants. I get my tax refunds that way. There are other trivial solutions for receiving 500k e.g. renting an apartment for a few months, getting some utility bills and establishing a “residence identity” – this is what homeless people are busy doing when they offer to look after the elderly (they open a ton of bank accounts before they move on; I had this with my mum) HMRC isn’t going to be doing anything “personal”.

and exactly what ‘’much more’’ do you think there is to this? Why would I need to go and rent an apartment and establish residency and whatever else you suggest to simply get what is mine under the bilateral tax agreement (under which they withheld these taxes in the UK). I do not (and never have wanted to) live in the UK and was taxed under that scheme.
You are right on the agent, which has been chasing HMRC since April of this year, however my agent cannot accept payments for me (it is against their policy) and as I use my agent for many other parts of my business (this tax is Paye btw not company tax, so it is personal) I have provided HMRC with a friends bank account details now who will wire me the money, however that is a couple of weeks ago and there is still no movement. Is it personal? I don’t think so, I just think the UK is such a mess and in need of cash that they will use whatever truand techniques they can to hang onto what is legally mine as they can… The beauty is that this money is due to the French taxman under the bilateral agreement, but like most things that are agreed under International law with the UK and signed into agreements, what is agreed isn’t really agreeed with the UK…

here is the reply from HMRC btw —>
Thank you for your email of 29 August 2021 to the Chief Executive. I have been asked, as to reply to you as Complaints Investigations Manager for business area. I apologise for the delay in replying to you and for the service you have received.
__
I can confirm you have been given the correct information by completing the R38 form and providing us with your bank details. We unfortunately failed to meet your expectations by giving you an incorrect timescale for your refund to be processed. I understand you are waiting for a refund of over £150,000, as a result it could take a couple of months before you receive your refund. As it’s a large amount we need the refund has to go to a repayment security office (RSO) to make the necessary checks before payment can be made as you live outside the UK.
__
We spoke to your agent on the 9 September 2021, this was to try and speed up the refund. We explained that if we could pay the money into the agent’s account they could then transfer the money to you. We currently have not had a reply back from them.
__
In the meantime, I have contacted the RSO and made a requested for your refund to be looked at urgently

LFHN - Bellegarde - Vouvray France

however my agent cannot accept payments for me (it is against their policy)

I would find a better agent

but like most things that are agreed under International law with the UK and signed into agreements, what is agreed isn’t really agreeed with the UK…

I would read a higher quality newspaper The UK is way better than most when it comes to sticking to agreements; unfortunately they do it even when the result is quite ridiculous, while other countries just turn a blind eye in such cases. The financial services industry here is particularly stuck far up its own back orifice, bound up by KYC rules, where a bank will kick you out even if they knew you for 30 years.

HMRC is not “personal”; they are just staffed by mostly incompetent people (much of the work centres are located in areas of high unemployment, with the predictable result) and a lot of the smart ones are mercilessly opportunistic in identifying targets. Reportedly the majority of leads come from ex wives I could post a very long story…

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

LFHNflightstudent wrote:

You don’t think this is slightly racist?

No, not only because it is addressed at a country government and industry rather than the people. They are in a position where they can get away with (literally) murder because the whole world depends on them for cheap goods and the same whole world does not give a darn that the only way these cheap goods are produced is working conditions close to slavery there. Add to that the faking of products, stealing of trade secrets on a very regular basis and so on, it is simply amazing how this is being toleraded out of necessity. Not to speak of all other things mentioned which happen there a lot.

Covid shold have taught us a lesson in this regard, but it did not. Money and greed come first. We saw first hand what happens if the supply chain collapses on medical goods such as masks last spring, yet are there mask producers now in Europe or the US? Not that I have heard of, still 99.9% of masks come from china. Many of our electronics are fabricated there despite their brands being US or elsewhere.

Disregarding the fact that China originated the worst crisis in recent history by sitting on information on Covid spreads for 2 months allowing it to spread worldwide, their trade practices for decades have been something people only accepted because of the greed to own cheap stuff and to make manufacturing cheaper and cheaper. As long as we tolerate this, rather than looking into moving production back into countries closer to us or within the “local” trade network called the EU for Europe and within the US for the American market, we will be this dependent. It is not that it’s impossible to do, but it will increase prices which is the big poh-poh in business for now.

The only way to stop this would be tariffs on goods manufactured under such conditions, but we all know what that means. And while I also am guilty of owning chinese cheapoware due to my limited budget, I fully would support a move to take at least part of the production back to other countries with less criminal energy. We have enough countries here where labour is comparatively cheap, not as cheap as china but still a lot cheaper than in the top EU countries, who could massively profit from the influx of such manufacturing. Maybe the poor/rich country divide would even out a bit if this was policy to be followed by measures. But I am not very confident that this would happen, even if China gets even more drastic in their trade practices, because people are too afraid of loosing them as their cheap manufacturing base on which the whole house of cards of overconsumption rests.

LSZH, Switzerland

Not just SE UK fossil fuel car problem. From China Global News:

“An EV owner reportedly queued for four hours in a services zone in Leiyang, Central China’s Hunan Province where many cars waited for charging on October 1, the first day of the long holidays when the traffic peak usually occurs on highways. The owner drove her car from Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province, to Hunan. The distance between Shenzhen and Hunan is about 750 kilometers.”

Maoraigh
EGPE, United Kingdom

LeSving wrote:

How large are they?

This is not rocket science, and it’s not voodoo magic either. The entire issue is as simple as getting fuel from storage A to storage B, before storage B runs empty. Now, if for some reason the supply is scaled down to a point where no variation in demand whatsoever is tolerated, this will cause a problem sooner or later. The problem will be a cascade of empty storage Bs. This is not JiT, this is communist style lazily planned economy gone wrong (as it always does).

I don’t know how large they are, I’m not interested enough to try and research it. There is probably a fair degree of variation depending on location. But clearly not that large, because at normal levels of demand they have deliveries at least once per week. The point is that any gas station anywhere which suddenly experiences 500% demand will be empty same day.

You’re correct – the system cannot tolerate any significant variation from the usual levels of demand – and the usual levels will be highly predictable so most of the time this works. This will be the same in Norway or any other European country. If you take the fuel sales records of a particular gas station anywhere then it will be highly repeatable for any other comparable time period at that station – a pattern throughout the week with predictable and repeatable peaks and troughs, then seasonal variations etc.

No company (or country if centrally planned) has fleets of full tankers doing nothing and sat ready to go in case demand spikes to 500% of normal. Whether you called it JiT or a communist planned economy (it certainly isn’t here, the government hasn’t made it like this – it’s market forces) is up to you, but it is what it is. What it isn’t is a shortage of the product.

LeSving wrote:

The only thing to learn from this, is the supply from A to B cannot be trusted. The only way a person can mitigate this, is to have a personal buffer of fuel. This may be as simple as filling up the tank in the car, and perhaps a jerry can or two (although people get tired of jerry cans pretty fast).

It certainly can’t be absolutely 100% relied on 100% of the time, and this is no different in your country. Whether the Norwegians would ever panic-buy petrol is a different question, but if they did then you’d experience the same issues at gas stations. It might be different in Norway, but here the % of the population that can use and store jerry cans is not significant in the grand scheme of things – not when it comes to the overall demand situation.

Our supermarkets used to do the petrol price wars you previously spoke of. They don’t anymore, for whatever reason. To be honest, there was never that much of a rush to them when they did (it was only little cuts, like 0.02 per litre) and I doubt it had much of an effect on their distribution requirements. In any case, as a manager taking that decision you wouldn’t have done it without being aware of the supply situation and any possible adverse effect.

Last Edited by Graham at 05 Oct 10:02
EGLM & EGTN

@LFHNflightstudent I would tend to agree with @Peter that you need a better agent. One who cannot do something so basic as receiving a payment on your behalf is not much use.

On a more practical level, I can see why they do not pay it outside the country without a great deal of care. As with Peter’s China experiences, the point is that once it’s gone it’s completely gone with no possibility whatsoever of getting it back if it’s later discovered that a mistake was made. A payment made inside the country can always be recovered, eventually, starting with a lot of threatening letters (which HMRC are quite good at.)

It’s pretty implausible that the UK government is hanging onto your money to boost its cashflow in the same way that companies quibble invoices to delay payment. It’s just bureaucratic inefficiency and I’m sure the same happens in France.

Anyway, if your PAYE rebate is half a million pounds, I’d like to do whatever it is you do!

EGLM & EGTN

Graham wrote:

@LFHNflightstudent I would tend to agree with @Peter that you need a better agent. One who cannot do something so basic as receiving a payment on your behalf is not much use.

On a more practical level, I can see why they do not pay it outside the country without a great deal of care. As with Peter’s China experiences, the point is that once it’s gone it’s completely gone with no possibility whatsoever of getting it back if it’s later discovered that a mistake was made. A payment made inside the country can always be recovered, eventually, starting with a lot of threatening letters (which HMRC are quite good at.)

If the level of bad intention and incompetence wasn’t so sad the situation would be quite hilarious. I guess it’s part of global Brittain… I’m quite satisfied with my agent, who is also my international tax advisor, they are probably more used to dealing with international business and payments. I’m less optimistic about this not being about boosting cashflow, (I do actually believe with UK banks it is incompetency, HMRC not so much) if anyone here is really an expert on the matter and can actually help with getting the situation sorted with HMRc I’m happy to share the details. However I doubt it is possible, in the mean time I have moved all of my business out of the UK…

LFHN - Bellegarde - Vouvray France

LFHNflightstudent wrote:

if anyone here is really an expert on the matter and can actually help with getting the situation sorted with HMRc

There are no ‘experts who can sort it’ in the manner you want, not here nor anywhere.

The email reply you shared makes HMRC’s position pretty clear. You can either get your UK agent to sort himself out and receive it on your behalf, or you can wait for their security processes for making payments abroad. I have never appointed an agent to deal with HMRC on my behalf, but I’m pretty sure it’s (a little bit) more formalised than just sending them someone’s bank details, especially if you already have an agent appointed. You don’t seriously think they are going to wire half a million quid to a friend’s bank account that you just sent them details of (in an email?)

This is just bureaucracy. It’s the same the world over and is nothing to do with Brexit nor the UK reneging on international obligations. I’m sure it would be equally difficult to get the French tax authorities to wire half a million Euros out of the country.

I’ll repeat my oft-made point about international law. People who claim that “XYZ is in breach of international law” ought to do a bit of reading about what ‘international law’ actually is. It’s nothing more than the norms, conventions and (sometimes) agreements between nations and is highly subjective. There’s no big book of statute, no courts that enforce it, nor punishments meted out. In the real world, nations sometimes don’t do things the way others (perhaps the other party to a treaty) thinks they ought to, and if the issue is significant enough then diplomatic pressure is brought to bear.

EGLM & EGTN
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