Brexit-backing Iceland boss slams Boris Johnson for ‘tough rhetoric’ over shortages

Business boss expected larger pool of workers after voting Leave

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The CEO of the supermarket chain Iceland had called out Boris Johnson over the Government’s handling of shortages of goods and workers. Malcolm Walker provided BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme with a rundown of the impact the shortage was having within his industry. It comes after the Prime Minister told the Conservative Party Conference the stresses experienced with the UK supply chain were a necessary setback on the round to higher wages and productivity.

Mr Walker told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is inevitable that we will see price rises.

“The UK supermarket industry is one of the most competitive in the world are margins are very very tight.

“We are not an endless sponge that can just absorb all those different cost increases.

“So I would say unfortunately price rises are inevitable.”

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“We are starting to see that already in the market.”

Host Mishal Husain asked the Iceland boss: “Who is the party of business then now if the Prime Minister and the Conservatives are so helpful to you?”

He replied: “I would still very much hope it is the Conservatives, of course, they have got the history there.

“But it is frustrating.”

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“I think no one is taking a step back and looking at the accumulative impact of all these different issues on business.

“Iceland is a relatively big company and we will get through it but of course it is not the same for a lot of smaller businesses, businesses without cash reserves.

“I think this a moment where tough rhetoric is quite simply not helpful.”

Mr Johnson has clashed with BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker at the Conservative Pary conference in Manchester of the cause of the ongoing shortage of lorry drivers in the UK. 

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The BBC host argued that viewers watching would pin the problems with shortages on Brexit.

Mr Johnson disagreed strongly with the BBC presenter and slapped down the idea that Britain being outside the EU was a factor behind the lack of lorries on the roads.

He replied: “Well the supply chain problem is caused very largely by the strength of the economic recovery.

“What you will see is brilliant logistics experts in our supermarket chains, in our food processing industry getting to grips with it, finding the staff that they need.”

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