Shortages and Covid should not stop Christmas, says PM

21 September 2021, 05:53 | Updated: 21 September 2021, 18:20

Boris Johnson said Christmas should not be cancelled despite shortage and Covid fears
Boris Johnson said Christmas should not be cancelled despite shortage and Covid fears. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Fears about a shortage of turkeys, CO2 and staff will soon be resolved and shouldn't affect Christmas, Boris Johnson has said.

The PM also said the Government was not expecting this year's festivities to look "anything like" last year's, when rising Covid infections forced him to tell millions not to meet other households.

He acknowledged there are "all sorts of problems" in supply chains which threaten to cause shortages of some food and drinks products.

But Mr Johnson dismissed concerns such as those raised by Ranjit Singh Boparan, the owner of Bernard Matthews and 2 Sisters Food Group, who warned shortages of both carbon dioxide and staff could lead to Christmas dinners getting "cancelled".

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Speaking as he travelled to the US to speak to world leaders about climate issues, he said: "It could be faster than that, it could be much faster than that. But there are problems as you know with shipping, with containers, with staffing - there are all sorts of problems.

"But I think market forces will be very, very swift in sorting it out, and we're going to do whatever we can to help."

Concerns also remain about whether winter will see rising Covid cases. Such a rise, as people spend more time indoors, could come along with a spike in flu cases.

Mr Johnson pointed to the Government's booster vaccine programme and the "Plan B" package of back-up measures, which included reintroducing masks if the NHS comes under serious pressure.

"It's a graduated series of steps and we certainly don't want or expect to have to do anything like last Christmas," he said.

Asked if Christmas would get cancelled for a second year, Mr Johnson replied: "That is very much not the plan."