Boris Johnson warns supermarket shelves could be empty for months due to food shortages

Supermarkets have been hit by shortages across the UK. (Photo: Shutterstock)Supermarkets have been hit by shortages across the UK. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Supermarkets have been hit by shortages across the UK. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Boris Johnson has warned that supermarket shelves could stay empty in the months ahead, sparking fears of shortages in the run-up to Christmas. 

The Prime Minister told reporters that the food sector was struggling due to a lack of hauliers and soaring gas demand, but claimed the problems were temporary. 

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The UK has been hit by shortages in everything from fresh fruit to meat in recent weeks due to supply chain issues.

Many have put the issues down to a shortage of HGV drivers and a general shortage of labour in the wake of Brexit and new, tougher immigration rules. 

A high global demand for gas has also caused problems in the supply chain, with meat producers warning that a fall in carbon dioxide supply could threaten production of meat products.

The government held talks with energy suppliers over the weekend (September 18) to discuss a potential rise in wholesale gas prices.

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The PM has indicated that issues with the supply chain will be temporary, but did not indicate how long the disruption might last. 

Ahead of a trip to the United States, Johnson spoke to reporters about supply issues, saying from 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."

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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.”

The UK has been plagued by problems in the supply chain for several months, with the “pingdemic” initially blamed for a shortage in workers thanks to the large volume of those forced to self-isolate. 

The current problems with the supply chain are being blamed on a shortage of labour throughout the supply chain, especially a shortage of lorry drivers.