BORIS Johnson today insisted Christmas will be “considerably better” than last year but admitted there could be some gaps on the shelves.
The PM reassured Brits supply chains are “very reliable” and blamed problems on a global lorry driver shortage sparked by the recovery from Covid.
Asked about possible shortages during the festive season he conceded there will be “difficulties that we have to address as the world economy wakes up”.
Boris said: “I think Christmas this year will be very considerably better than last year. All right, that’s a low base.
“We have very reliable supply chains in this country, we have fantastic logistics.
“There are obviously issues that we have to address, there have been shortages in lorry drivers around the world.
“There are shortages of lorry drivers in China at the moment. There are going to be difficulties that we have to address as the world economy wakes up.”
Boris said the UK’s economic recovery is like the country “has been in a deep freeze and the pipes are unfreezing right now.
He added: “That’s what’s happening and it’s that stresses and strains caused by an economy that’s really waking up.”
His remarks come after Rishi Sunak warned families will battle shortages this Christmas as there’s no “magic wand” to fix the delivery crisis.
The Chancellor braced Brits for delays getting their turkeys because of a lack of truckers to drive supplies to supermarkets.
His speech at the Tory party conference today has been overshadowed by the delivery disasters wreaking havoc on shops and petrol stations.
Mr Sunak insisted ministers were working round the clock to solve the chaos but was frank that the problems will stretch into the festive season.
He told BBC Radio 4: “We’re seeing supply disruption, not just here but in lots of different places, and there are things we can try and mitigate, and we are.
“But we can’t wave a magic wand. There’s nothing I can do about the decision by a country in Asia to shut down a port because of a coronavirus outbreak.
“But be assured we are doing everything that is in our control to try and mitigate some of these challenges.”
Troops were behind the wheel of HGVs this morning as the army was finally deployed to help fix the crisis.
The 200 servicemen and women will add to the 5,000 temporary visas for foreign truck drivers recruited to plug the shortage of HGV drivers.
Boris Johnson is reluctant to hire more overseas workers to plug the shortage and favours coaxing Brits to get behind the wheel for better pay.
He said yesterday: “The way forward for our country is not to just pull the big lever marked uncontrolled immigration.”
The PM vowed not to revert to the “old, failed model” of low wages for these jobs.
Mr Johnson admitted he was aware a driver crisis was brewing “long before” June and pointed to a global shortage of truckers
Mr Sunak will later address the Tory faithful at the party’s conference in Manchester where he’ll officially announce a £500million jobs package.
He’ll also try to calm party jitters about tax hikes to pay for unprecedented public spending.