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PM puts Michael Gove in charge of fixing supply chain problems

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Save Christmas, Michael! PM gives old 'frenemy' Gove key role of fixing chaotic supply chains saying he doesn't want to 'cancel' festive season again

By Jack Maidment, Deputy Political Editor For Mailonline

Published: 05:19 EDT, 15 September 2021 | Updated: 11:55 EDT, 15 September 2021

Boris Johnson has put Michael Gove in charge of resolving problems with the UK's food supply chains amid warnings from business chiefs of shortages at Christmas. 

The Prime Minister has reportedly tasked the Minister for the Cabinet Office with 'fixing' ongoing issues caused by a lack of HGV drivers and food processing staff. 

Mr Johnson is said to have told his Cabinet yesterday that he had put Mr Gove in charge of a new taskforce as he joked he 'doesn't want to have to cancel Christmas again'.

Boris Johnson has put Michael Gove in charge of resolving problems with the UK's food supply chains amid warnings from business chiefs of shortages at Christmas

The Prime Minister has reportedly tasked the Minister for the Cabinet Office with 'fixing' ongoing issues caused by a lack of HGV drivers and food processing staff

Industry leaders have been urging the Government to do more to prevent food shortages in the coming winter months.  

Mr Gove is now in control of a National Economic Recovery Taskforce which will run across Whitehall, according to The Times.

It will seek to boost the number of HGV drivers and deliver more help to food suppliers. 

One of the expected changes due to be brought forward will be to streamline the HGV licensing system.    

There have been calls for the Government to loosen immigration rules to make it easier for UK companies to employ EU lorry drivers. 

But ministers are refusing to budge on the issue, insisting that the right approach is to increase the number of UK drivers. 

There are growing fears of shortages of some food products over the Christmas period. 

Archie Norman, the chairman of Marks and Spencer, recently warned retailers are facing a 'perfect storm' because of the lack of lorry drivers and supply chain snarl-ups. He said Christmas could be a 'bumpy ride'.

Industry leaders have been urging the Government to do more to prevent food shortages in the coming winter months. The Port of Dover is pictured in December 2020

It comes after the UK Government again announced it is delaying the introduction of full customs checks on EU imports in a bid to avoid further border disruption. 

The UK was supposed to be introducing a fresh wave of border rules on imports of animal origin and certain foods from next month. 

But they will now be phased in throughout 2022 after they were delayed for the first time back in March of this year.

Lord Frost, the Cabinet Office Minister, said the latest delay would give businesses more time to recover from the coronavirus crisis.    

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