Boris Johnson insisted today that Christmas will be “much better” than last year, but acknowledged there may be some gaps in the shelves.
The PM assured that Brits supply chains are “very reliable” and blamed the problems on the global lorry driver shortage due to the recovery from Covid.
Asked about a possible shortfall during the festive season, he admitted that “we will have to solve the problems once the world economy wakes up”.
Boris said: “I think Christmas this year will be much better than last year. Well, it’s low ground.
“We have very reliable supply chains in this country, we have great logistics.
“Obviously there are issues we have to address, there is a shortage of lorry drivers around the world.
“There is a shortage of lorry drivers in China at the moment. As the world economy wakes up there are going to be difficulties that we will have to address.”
Boris said the UK’s economic recovery was like the country “is in a deep freeze and the pipes are freezing right now”.
He added: “That’s what’s happening and it’s the stress and tension caused by an economy that’s really waking up.”
He told LBC: “What you see is the UK economy coming back to life, really spreading its legs, starting to move again, and of course some creaking here and there. Because we haven’t had such activity in a long time.”
His remarks came after Rishi Sunak warned that families will face a crunch this Christmas as there is no “magic wand” to fix the delivery crisis.
The chancellor forced Brits to delay receiving their turkeys because there was a shortage of truck drivers to supply supermarkets.
His speech today at a Tory party convention has been marred by the disasters of delivery wreaking havoc at shops and petrol stations.
Mr Sunak insisted that ministers were working round the clock to resolve the chaos, but it was clear the problems would escalate during the festive season.
He told BBC Radio 4, “We are seeing supply disruptions not only here but in many different places, and there are things we can try and reduce, and we are.
“But we can’t wave the magic wand. I can’t do anything about a country in Asia’s decision to close the port because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“But rest assured that we are doing everything within our control to try and mitigate some of these challenges.”
The military was behind the wheel of the HGV this morning as the military was deployed to help fix the crisis.
The 200 soldiers and women will add to the 5,000 temporary visas for foreign truck drivers recruited to address the shortage of HGV drivers.
Mr Johnson is reluctant to hire more foreign workers to address the shortage and prefers to persuade Brits to get behind the wheel for better pay.
He said yesterday: “The way forward for our country is not simply pulling the big lever marked by uncontrolled immigration.”
The PM vowed not to return to the “old, failed model” of low pay for these jobs.
Mr Johnson acknowledged he knew a driver crisis was brewing “long before June” and pointed to a global shortage of truckers
Mr Sunak will later address the Tory loyalist at the party’s convention in Manchester where he will officially announce a £500m jobs package.
He will also try to quell the party’s nervousness about a tax hike to pay for unprecedented public spending.