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Rishi Sunak calls on world to work together on supply chain issues

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 14/10/2021 Alexander Britton
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak © PA Wire Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak

The G7 group of leading world economies will work more closely together to monitor supply chain issues.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak chaired a meeting of finance ministers on Wednesday in Washington DC in the week when the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are convening in the US capital.

The UK has been hard hit by fears of supply shortages, partly due to a lack of HGV drivers, while pandemic restrictions and poor weather conditions have affected shipping in China and east Asia and had knock-on impacts worldwide.

The Treasury said Mr Sunak told the meeting of the “importance of global co-operation to ensure that supply chains are more resilient as the world emerges from the pandemic”.

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Speaking after the meeting, Mr Sunak said: “Supply chain issues are being felt globally – and finance leaders from around the globe must collaborate to address our shared challenges.

“Today we have collectively agreed to work closely over the coming months – and together we will build a strong and resilient recovery.”

Motorists and shoppers in the UK were urged not to panic buy fuel and goods towards the end of September as the shortage of lorry drivers hit supplies.

Ministers faced pressure to ease immigration rules as an emergency measure to attract HGV drivers from overseas amid warnings that 100,000 more were needed across the industry.

The issues around petrol supply, on top of problems in the food industry and rising gas prices, led to warnings the Government faces a “winter of discontent”.

A combination of factors including Brexit leading to the loss of European Union drivers, the pandemic preventing driving tests and systemic problems in the industry relating to pay and conditions led to the shortage of qualified HGV drivers.

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