Warning over Christmas presents as ministers warn of supply problems

Prepare for Christmas PRESENT shortage: Ministers warn supply problems could hit ‘individual sectors’ of the economy ahead of the festive period – but claim turkey deliveries will be unaffected

  • Downing Street said supplies of the iconic winter birds were safe
  • Fears over festive food shortages have led to a spike in frozen goods sales
  • But no similar reassurances over presents weer given by Downing St today
  • PM’s spokesman ‘confident that we are taking the right action’ on supply issues
  • But added:  ‘That’s not to say that individual sectors won’t face some issues’
  • Ministers warned of potential Christmas present shortages today – but vowed that turkeys would be available for dinner.

    Downing Street said supplies of the iconic winter birds were safe thanks to efforts to ease a logistics crisis, but other ‘individual sectors’ would continue to face issues.

    Potential issues with supply chains and winter pressures on the NHS were discussed with Boris Johnson by ministers at the Cabinet meeting in Downing Street this morning.

    Fears over festive food shortages have led to a spike in frozen goods sales in recent weeks as families make contingency plans. 

    The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Stephen Barclay told ministers about 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’.

    But asked whether the Government could guarantee there would be presents under Christmas trees, the spokesman added: ‘We remain confident that we are taking the right action to deal with the supply challenges that we are seeing globally.

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

    Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Stephen Barclay told ministers about 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'.

    Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Stephen Barclay told ministers about 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’.

    Fears over festive food shortages have led to a spike in frozen goods sales in recent weeks as families make contingency plans.

    Fears over festive food shortages have led to a spike in frozen goods sales in recent weeks as families make contingency plans.

    The spokesman added: ‘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.’

    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.

    It came as militant French fishing barons vowed last night to wreck Britain’s economy before Christmas, with skippers plotting a nationwide protest in a post-Brexit row over licences.

    Olivier Lepretre, the chairman of the powerful northern France fisheries committee, made the threat after being emboldened by late-night talks with president Emmanuel Macron.

    Without saying exactly how, Mr Lepretre said trade unions and skippers would take action within days that will ‘hit the British economy’ unless there was a compromise from Downing Street.

    He has previously threatened that disgruntled French fishermen could block the port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel in the run-up to Christmas, halting the flow of goods from the Continent.

    ‘It is out of the question to do anything that will harm the French economy,’ Mr Lepretre said in Boulogne-sur-Mer last night. ‘We will disrupt British interests.

    ‘Let them give us the licences. Otherwise, we will cut them off.’ 

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