Rishi Sunak accused of peddling 'patently false' claims on supply chain crisis

The SNP have accused the Chancellor of the Exchequer of repeating “patently false” claims on the extent of the UK Government’s response to the supply chain crisis.

Rishi Sunak has been accused of not doing enough to help improve supply chain issues.

The criticism comes after Rishi Sunak told the BBC that the government was “doing absolutely everything we can” to reduce the impact of the problems affecting the supply chain.

The Chancellor was speaking after meeting with finance ministers from the G7 group of leading world economies to talk about the problem, with the politicians agreeing to work more closely to solve the crisis.

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British retailers have expressed fears ongoing supply chain problems will result in higher prices and empty shelves into December, but the chief executive of the UK Major Ports Group said supply chains were “robust” and “there’s no need to panic”.

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

Speaking to the BBC in Washington DC, Mr Sunak sought to reassure Britons as people begin to think about shopping for Christmas.

He said: “We’re doing absolutely everything we can to mitigate some of these challenges.

“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.”

However, the SNP accused Mr Sunak of ignoring industry warning and for failing to take action after Brexit.

Drew Hendry, the party’s trade spokesperson, said “significantly increasing” the availability of visas for workers where there are labour shortages would help the problem and make the UK “more attractive”.

He said: “Rishi Sunak's claims are patently false. Tory ministers repeatedly ignored industry warnings and have failed to take the action required to mitigate Boris Johnson's disastrous hard Brexit, which is in a large part responsible for the supply chain crisis hitting the UK.

"It is damaging Tory Brexit decisions that have caused the severe staffing shortages and increased trade barriers, costs and red tape for businesses and consumers - costing Scotland billions of pounds. The Tory government must finally take responsibility and urgently get a grip of the crisis it has caused.

"It is absurd that, just two months from Christmas, the UK government has only approved around 20 visas for the 100,000 HGV driver shortage, and is still only contemplating visas for the agricultural sector, as pigs are being slaughtered - when it has heard the warnings for years.”

The MP added that independence would “keep Scotland safe from the long-term damage of Brexit”.

Mr Sunak chaired a meeting of finance ministers on Wednesday as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank convene in the US capital.

The Treasury said Mr Sunak told the meeting of the “importance of global co-operation to ensure that supply chains are more resilient as the world emerges from the pandemic”.

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

“Today we have collectively agreed to work closely over the coming months – and together we will build a strong and resilient recovery.”

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