Boris Johnson has not ruled out shortages continuing until Christmas, but said the festive period this year will be “considerably better” than last year.
“I’m very confident this Christmas will be considerably better,” the prime minister said during a visit to a youth club in Manchester.
Live updates from the Conservative Party conference
When it was put to him that this was a low bar considering Christmas was cancelled last year for millions of families because of COVID-19 restrictions, Mr Johnson replied: “This country leads the world, actually, in logistics and supply chains. We’ve got very good supply chains.
“Where there are issues that we can help with, we will do everything we can.”
Asked if Britons could see empty shelves at Christmas given the current supply chain issues that the economy is experiencing, the PM said: “We are going to see a period in which the global economy, particularly the UK economy because of the speed of recovery, is sucking in demand very fast.”
The PM’s latest comments come after he insisted the fuel crisis is “abating”, despite reports there are still long queues for petrol in some parts of the country.
A shortage of HGV drivers is having a knock-on effect across the economy, with empty supermarket shelves reported and restaurant chains experiencing shortages as well.
Mr Johnson said the government would allow “controlled immigration” to tackle the current supply chain issues.
But he insisted the UK would not be going back to what he characterised as a “low skilled, low wage economy” underpinned by “uncontrolled immigration”.
The PM said this led to the UK “having comparatively very low productivity, very low wages and that’s not the way forward because we should be a high skill, high productivity economy”.
He added: “We will take sensible measures and we will use controlled immigration as one of the things like any sensible government would.”