Christmas shortage fears: Sunak 'confident' UK will not run out of presents

14 October 2021, 11:53 | Updated: 14 October 2021, 11:55

Rishi Sunak has insisted Christmas shopping won't be an issue this winter
Rishi Sunak has insisted Christmas shopping won't be an issue this winter. Picture: Getty

By James Morris

Rishi Sunak has promised there will be a "good amount of Christmas presents available" this winter despite supply chain issues.

It follows assurances from the UK Major Ports Group that supply chains are “robust” – after retailers expressed fears supply chain issues will result in empty shelves and higher prices this Christmas.

A massive logjam of cargo in Felixstowe, meanwhile, has led to shipping company Maersk opting to divert vessels away from the Suffolk port, which is the largest in the UK.

However, Chancellor Mr Sunak insisted there is nothing for people to worry about as they begin to plan their Christmas shopping.

“We're doing absolutely everything we can to mitigate some of these challenges," he said.

"They are global in nature so we can't fix every single problem, but I feel confident there will be good provision of goods for everybody."

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And Mr Sunak, who was speaking to the BBC after chairing a meeting of G7 finance ministers in Washington DC, promised: "I'm confident there will be a good amount of Christmas presents available for everyone to buy."

The UK has been hard hit by fears of supply shortages, partly due to a lack of HGV drivers as a result of Brexit.

The coronavirus pandemic has also prevented HGV driving tests, while systemic problems in the industry relating to pay and conditions has also led to a shortage of drivers.

Pandemic restrictions and poor weather conditions have also affected shipping in China and east Asia, and had knock-on impacts worldwide.

It comes as a YouGov survey suggested one in four people are concerned the products they hope to purchase on Black Friday, the discount shopping event on 26 November, will not be for sale due to the lorry drivers crisis.