The maker of Quality Street has said it is ‘working hard’ to make sure the Christmasfavourite is on shelves before December 25 after also being hit by the ongoing supply chaincrisis which is threatening to detail the winter holiday for millions this year.
Nestle, which also makers Lion bars, Aero and KitKat, admitted it has been experiencing some supply problems but is desperately trying to ensure that its products – including the popular Quality Street tins – are available for Britons this Christmas.
Chief executive Mark Schneider told the BBC ‘we are seeing some labour shortages and some transportation issues but it’s our UK team’s top priority to work constructively with retailers to supply them’. When asked whether he could guarantee Quality Street would be in the shops this Christmas, he told the broadcaster: ‘We are working hard.’
Exclusive research for the Mail by the Centre for Economics and Business Research reveals how inflation will cost the typical family of four an extra £1,800 by the end of this year, while a retired couple can expect to see living costs rise by more than £1,100, and a lower income couple could be stung by nearly £900.
But while many Britons are fear a financial hit, Mr Johnson insisted that he is not worried about rising prices because he believes they will be temporary, and insisted it is ‘not his job’ to fix every aspect of supply chains in the UK.
Asked about the situation during the Conservative Party conference, he told the BBC: ‘Actually I think that people have been worried about inflation for a long time and it hasn’t materialised.’
When pressed on the UK’s HGV driver shortage he attempted to deflect attention back to the private sector, saying ‘it’s not the job of government to come in and try and fix every problem in business and industry’.
Referencing Margaret Thatcher’s 1980s dictum – which ironically she used to stress the need to control inflation in a market economy – Mr Johnson said: ‘In a famous phrase, there is no alternative. There is no alternative.
‘The UK has got to – and we can – do much, much better by becoming a higher-wage, higher-productivity economy.’
But he admitted that Christmas might only be better from a ‘low base’ amid fears of ongoing shortages – after it was effectively cancelled during the pandemic last year.
Furious business chiefs accused the Prime Minister of ‘buck-passing’, while cabinet ministers told MailOnline they were concerned about ‘complacency’ creeping in over inflation.
In a stark warning of the bumpy road ahead this winter, the Bank of England has already flagged that inflation could hit 4 per cent by the end of the year, while supermarkets say food prices could increase by 5 per cent.
The energy price cap has now also increased, pushing up bills for more than 15 million households by an average of close to £140 a year.
And the soaring cost of wholesale gas has seen many suppliers go bust – forcing millions of customers on cheap deals onto more expensive tariffs linked to the price cap.
Meanwhile, new figures show pump prices have hit 136.10p per litre, the highest level since September 2013. As living costs soar across the country, consumer polls suggest as many as half of Britons have already started cutting back, fearing they may have to penny-pinch now in order to save up for what could be a pricey Christmas.
Others have started shopping early – hoping to beat the price rises – with Aldi’s already selling 1,500 frozen turkey crowns a day, while Christmas pudding sales are up 45 per cent.
A survey, carried out by Consumer Intelligence, found many had started to scale back spending within the last one to three months – with most fearing rising food and energy prices.
Meanwhile, analysis of price rises in the last year alone shows the cost of a second-hand car has risen more than £1,600, a tank of fuel is up more than £10, the price of a pint of beer is creeping close to £4 and a bottle of prosecco has risen 55p to £8.
The new month of October also marked the end of the furlough salary support scheme as well as the withdrawal of an extra £20-a-week for struggling households receiving Universal Credit.