Ministers will do “absolutely everything” to resolve supply chain problems in the UK, as Chancellor Rishi Sunak stated. Shoppers should feel confident.
Retailers have been warning of possible shortages in the Christmas season.
Sunak spoke to BBC during the G7 meeting in Washington. He blamed global issues for the delays at Felixstowe ports.
The G7 finance ministers had already agreed to cooperate to solve the problem.
Sunak stated, “I am confident there will be a lot of Christmas gifts available for everybody to buy.”
After a container blockade at Felixstowe port, his comments were heard by many businesses. This was just before the peak period for retail spending.
According to the UK’s most important commercial port, Wednesday saw a logjam caused by the supply chain crisis.
Port of Felixstowe handles 36% of UK freight container traffic.
It said that the situation had improved over the past few days.
Maersk, a shipping company that is renowned for its large ships, told BBC they were rerouting them away from Port Maersk.
In parallel, the US’s largest port will be open 24/7 to ease long waits for cargo ships.
California’s Port of Los Angeles said that it would handle more cargo at night following a similar move made by the Long Beach port.
Ports, which receive 40% of cargo containers into the US, have been facing problems for months.
On Wednesday, the White House stated that the major US businesses such as FedEx or Walmart had also pledged to increase their 24-hour operations in order to get out of jam.
Sunak tried to diffuse a disagreement within government regarding support for heavy industrial.
He said, “I don’t believe anyone can accuse us being dismissive about concern for business. We have actually engaged very constructively avec them.”
Sunak said that he had completely dismissed the claim of UK Steel’s head that the government created an “hostile environment for industrial investment” and that it was encouraging levelling up.
However, when asked whether he as the Chancellor was ready to concede that rising gas prices might force heavy industry to close, he stated that taxpayer money must be protected, and it was not his job “to manage each product’s price”.
After Boris Johnson’s blame for shortages in UK labour supply, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the government would cooperate constructively with business. He pointed to Sir Dave Lewis being appointed as the Supply Chain Tsar.
The Chancellor said that everyone, including Johnson, accepts the inflationary nature of increasing wages and productivity.
Johnson’s move towards a high-skill, high-wage economy would take “obviously time”, he stated.