Christmas fears deepen as factories could shut in weeks and shelves stripped

Christmas could be ruined through a combination of panic buying and factories closing, with many shoppers already suffering from food shortages, according to reports.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics suggest that roughly one in six people in the UK have struggled to buy essential food items at some point in the past fortnight.

43% of people have found that supermarkets have had less variety as of late, and 14% have needed to trudge across town to different shops to tick off their shopping lists.

Moreover, with a third of shoppers either 'worried' or 'very worried' about shortages ahead of Christmas, record numbers of people have booked up delivery slots for December.

Waitrose opened their December bookings last week. By lunchtime on the first day, 22,000 slots had gone, with that number rising to 112,000 by the end of the week.

Ocado has been forced to pen "sorry if you haven't been able to a Christmas slot in time" on its website.

To complete this cocktail of chaos, industry leaders fear that factories could shut in the comings weeks.

Andrew Large, director-general at the Confederation of Paper Industries, told BBC Radio 4 yesterday: "When we talked with the Secretary of State this afternoon, it was very, very clear across all of the sectors that there are serious risks of effectively factory stoppages as a result of the costs of gas being too high.

"There will be a gradual knock-on effect through supply chains, right the way across manufacturing, consumer retail and other products.

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"And so the risks are very, very real."

According to footballer Marcus Rashford, the supply problems have already started to impact the food banks he works with.

He told BBC Breakfast: "They're struggling to do what they love doing because there's a shortage of food.

"Of course it's something that we're going to have to find an answer to and quickly as well because you know people are out there and they need the meals and especially going into winter."

Have you had issues buying food recently? Let us know in the comments below if you're concerned over the panic buying in supermarkets!

With fears that our Christmas dinner plates may look rather sparse amid a 'winter of discontent', the Daily Mail has reported that senior government figures are considering calling in the arm to drive HGVs.

They are hoping that the move will negate the current shortage of drivers and allow us to enjoy all the trimmings this Christmas.

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This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Sir Dave Lewis, the former boss of Tesco, to manage the current supply chain crisis.

The 56-year-old is nicknamed "Drastic Dave" due to the extraordinary lengths he has gone to turn businesses around.

The drastic change on shop's shelves follows a period of Brits panic-buying and stocking up on petrol when reports there could be a shortage were unveiled.

Motorists queued up for hours, attempting to fill up their vehicles with some bulk buying petrol cans full of extra liquid, scared they wouldn't be able to travel if they ran out.

A spate of thefts also occurred, with people's cars being drained of petrol amid the hysteria.

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