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Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson in tirade over Government’s response to ‘crisis’

Alan Johnson was yesterday scathing about the Government's response to the transport chaos caused by the snow, claiming people felt they had been told to “get a shovel or stay at home”.

The Shadow Chancellor said there were “questions to be answered” by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond over his handling of the situation.

Mr Johnson claimed salt supplies had not been delivered in time and were arriving in “dribs and drabs” as much of the country faced another day affected by the freezing conditions.

And he suggested that the poor weather could have a negative effect on the economy as demand fell because people were staying indoors.

Mr Johnson highlighted the resignation of Scottish transport minister Stewart Stevenson, telling Sky News: “It is a big issue when people believe the government have just left it for them and said ‘get a shovel or stay at home'.

“Governing is about more than that when you hit a crisis.”

Foreign Secretary William Hague rejected the criticism of the government's response, but said better long-term preparations might be needed if such extreme conditions were to become more regular.

“We have got higher salt stocks than at this time last year; we have got higher gas reserves,” he told the programme.

“So I think there was a heavy snowfall of political opportunism really in his comments.”

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