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CHRISTMAS SUPPLY ISSUES: Global supply challenges could hit Christmas, No 10 warns

CHRISTMAS SUPPLY ISSUES: Global supply challenges could hit Christmas, No 10 warns

 

CHRISTMAS SUPPLY ISSUES: Turkey supplies are safe this Christmas but shoppers could still face “some issues” getting all the presents on their lists, Downing Street has indicated.

Boris Johnson’s Cabinet discussed the potential issues facing the country this winter, ranging from pressures on the NHS to what would be on festive dinner tables.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Stephen Barclay, had told ministers the country faced a combination of the usual winter pressures and the pandemic.

Mr Barclay, who is leading cross-Government work on the issues, told ministers: “We face the dual challenge of managing the regular pressures the colder and wetter months can bring alongside the additional challenge of an ongoing global pandemic and the knock-on effects this is having, including on global supply chains and energy supply,” Downing Street said.

Mr Barclay gave an overview of the work he is leading on issues including food supply, “noting that Government action had alleviated concerns over potential turkey shortages in the run-up to Christmas”, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

Asked whether the Government could guarantee there would be presents under Christmas trees, the spokesman said: “We remain confident we are taking the right action to deal with the supply challenges we are seeing globally.

“That’s not to say that individual sectors won’t face some issues, as will be seen in other countries.”

The spokesman said Mr Barclay had not listed sectors that could be hit “but we have obviously seen individual companies come forward and talk about the challenges they are facing”.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned that despite a “gargantuan effort to ensure that essential food and gifts are ready for Christmas”, shops “continue to be dogged by ongoing challenges (in) supply chain problems”.

Labour shortages are pushing up prices and creating some gaps on shelves, the BRC’s chief executive, Helen Dickinson, said on Friday.

At the Cabinet meeting, Mr Johnson told ministers “we should continue to work with industry on the supply chain issues that we are seeing across the globe”, Downing Street said.

The Prime Minister also highlighted areas where the Government had put in “additional resources” to prepare for winter – including flood defences and in the NHS.

And he agreed with Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, about the need to “stay vigilant” about Covid and flu over the winter months.

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