Tesco bosses last night warned the UK’s empty shelves will be “10 times worse” by Christmas as shoppers are expected to panic buy items amid the nation’s impending meat shortage.
They called on the Government to immediately address the shortage of HGV drivers to avoid a food crisis.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday claimed he wasn’t worried about panic buying, saying: “I don’t think that will happen.”
But Andrew Woolfenden, the store’s distribution chief, told ITV News: “Our concern is the pictures of empty shelves will get 10 times worse by Christmas, and then we’ll get panic-buying.”
Tesco has been offering new recruits bonuses of £1,000 since July, but said that it has only managed to attract as many drivers as it has lost to rival businesses over the summer.
Mr Woolfenden said the problem was industry-wide and described attempts to recruit from a limited pool of drivers as like “moving deckchairs around”.
The Cabinet Office has established a taskforce.
The government said: “We are taking steps, including streamlining the process for new HGV drivers and increasing the number of driving tests.
“We are also monitoring labour supply and working with sector leaders to understand how we can ease pinch points.”
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