Downing Street Rejects Claim Some Food Shortages Will Be Permanent

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Empty shelves are pictured where cartons of fruit juice would be stocked inside a Sainsbury’s supermarket in London on September 7, 2021.

Downing Street has rejected industry claims that shortages of some popular food and drink items will become “permanent”.

A spokesperson for the prime minister told journalists that they did not “recognise” claims the UK will be stuck with food shortages.

It comes as Brits up and down the country have reported empty supermarket shelves as well as shortages hitting restaurants such as Nando’s and McDonald’s. 

Outgoing Food and Drink chief executive Ian Wright has warned that we are in for some “permanent” shortages of some products.

However, a No10 spokesperson replied: “We don’t recognise those claims.” 

He admitted there are some issues “facing the sector” and talks with the industry would continue.

“We’ve got highly resilient food supply chains which have coped extremely well in the face of challenges and we believe that will remain the case,” he added.

Asked if he expected Brits will have a normal Christmas, the spokesperson replied: “I believe so, yes.”

Wright warned an event hosted by the Institute for Government that supply issues hitting supermarkets and restaurants are “going to get worse” but stressed that we are not going to run out of food.

He added: “The result of the labour shortages is that the just in time system that has sustained supermarkets, convenience stores and restaurants… is no longer working, and I don’t think it will work again.

“I think we will see we’re now in for permanent shortages. Now these shortages don’t mean you’re going to run out of food.

“But they do mean, as last week, the whole of the east of England was basically unsupplied with bottled water because it was just not possible for the businesses that move that stuff around to supply that stuff and everything else.”

The crisis has been caused by a shortage of HGV drivers, compounded by the post-Brexit exodus of EU workers.

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