The Prime Minister has admitted that there are problems with supply, with a lack of hauliers and soaring demands for gas making for a perfect storm after the pandemic
Boris Johnson has warned that supermarket shelves could be empty for months raising fears over shortages in the run-up to Christmas.
The Prime Minister admitted the food sector was struggling from a lack of hauliers and soaring global gas demand as the world emerges from the pandemic.
He claimed the problems were temporary but was unable to rule out them lasting for months potentially ruining the festive season for millions of families.
Ahead of his arrival in the United States, the PM attempted to strike an upbeat note about supply chains recovering after the Covid crisis.
He told reporters on his plane: “We’re experiencing bottlenecks in all kinds of things as the world wakes up from Covid.
“It’s like everybody going back to put the kettle on at the end of a TV programme, you’re seeing huge stresses on the world supply systems.
“But you’re also seeing businesses bouncing back strongly.”
He added: “It is fundamentally caused by the global economy coming to life again.
“The guy ropes are pinging off Gulliver and it’s standing up, and it’s going to take a while, as it were, for the circulation to adjust.”
Asked whether that could take months, he replied: “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 staff – there are all sorts of problems.
“But then these are problems that affect the entire world. I think market forces will be very very swift in sorting it out.”
Government ministers have been at pains to distance the supply chain problems from new post-Brexit checks imposed at the border with the European Union.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has been locked in urgent meetings with energy company bosses in the wake of surging gas prices.
But Mr Johnson said: “As the world economy starts firing on cylinders — to use a hydrocarbon metaphor — things will start to smooth out.
“I have no doubt that supply issues will be readily addressed. We’re very confident in our supply chains.
“But in the meantime, we will make sure we work with all the gas companies to do whatever we can to keep people’s supplies coming, to make sure they don’t go out for business, and to make sure we get through the current difficult period.”