he Business Secretary has told people not to panic buy ahead of a possible no-deal Brexit, implying that supplies will be “absolutely fine”.
Mr Sharma was asked on Sky News if stockpiling was wise and replied: “We had the same discussion during the time of the first lockdown and actually people were able to shop, people were able to get items from shops.
“So, I’m very confident that actually the supply chains will still be in place.”
He added: “I would say to everyone – just do your normal shopping as you would do and I think we will find we are going to be absolutely fine.”
It comes after the British Retail Consortium has said retailers are increasing stocks to ensure a “sufficient supply of essential products”.
The trade body warns that any impact to the food chain is likely to affect fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables which cannot be stored for long.
Without a deal, they said the public will face more than £3 billion in food tariffs and higher prices throughout 2021.
Chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Retailers are doing everything they can to prepare for all eventualities, increasing the stock of tins, toilet rolls and other longer life products so there will be sufficient supply of essential products.
“While no amount of preparation by retailers can entirely prevent disruption, there is no need for the public to buy more food than usual as the main impact will be on imported fresh produce, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, which cannot be stored for long periods by either retailers or consumers.”
Meanwhile, British Chambers of Commerce president Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith told Sky News the UK needs a deal “as soon as possible”, adding: “We need to understand how we are going to trade and what the rules are.”