‘Good amount of Christmas presents’ will be available, says Sunak

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivers his speech on day two of the Conservative Party Conference at Manchester Central Convention Complex on October 4, 2021 in Manchester, England. This year's Conservative Party Conference returns as a hybrid of in-person and online events after last year it was changed to a virtual event due to the Coronavirus pandemic. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak has assured Britons that there will be a “good amount of Christmas presents available” this year despite the ongoing supply chain problems.

“We’re doing absolutely everything we can to mitigate some of these challenges,” Sunak told BBC today (14).

“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. I’m confident there will be a good amount of Christmas presents available for everyone to buy.”

Sunak was speaking a day after a meeting with finance ministers from the G7 group of leading world economies to talk about the supply chain crisis, with the politicians agreeing to work more closely to solve it.

“Supply chain issues are being felt globally – and finance leaders from around the globe must collaborate to address our shared challenges,” Sunak said.

Meanwhile, chief executive of the UK Major Ports Group said supply chains were “robust” and there was no need to panic amid reports that supply chain problems will result in higher prices and empty shelves in the coming weeks.

A build-up of cargo in Felixstowe has led to the shipping company Maersk diverting vessels from the Suffolk port, while similar logjams have been experienced elsewhere in the world, including in the US.

Sunak’s assurance comes as supermarkets and retailers have started bringing forward huge Christmas sales by up to a month to prevent empty shelves in December.

Industry bosses said promotions of up to 50 per cent off will be triggered early to avoid a last-minute rush after holding talks with the government.

Meanwhile families were warned to start shopping now amid fears supplies of toys, electrical goods and other products will be disrupted by logjams at UK ports. Motorists and shoppers  in the UK were urged not to panic-buy fuel and goods as the shortage of lorry drivers hit supplies.

Ministers faced pressure to ease immigration rules as an emergency measure to attract HGV drivers from overseas amid warnings that 100,000 more were needed across the industry.