‘What took you so long?’ Charlie Stayt lashes out at Eustice for the government’s response to food shortages.
The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, was questioned by BBC Breakfast’s Charlie Stayt on what is being done to assist supermarkets who are experiencing severe staff shortages as a result of employees being advised to isolate by the Track and Trace app.
On BBC Breakfast, Charlie Stayt, 59, questioned Eustice about why the government didn’t intervene sooner if they were watching the situation, implying that they should have been aware of the problems that would arise if more people were told to self-isolate. Many shops have suffered staff shortages after the NHS Covid app “pinged” a record 618,903 people in England and Wales in the week ending July 14.
Food suppliers and shops have warned that the increased number of workers forced to self-isolate may affect the availability of supplies.
Stayt inquired about the situation, saying, “You’ve been monitoring the situation for, I believe you mentioned a week or so.”
“How come you didn’t do it sooner?” Why did it have to come to this? Why did it have to get to the point where people were coming to the store and discovering things missing?
“If you’ve been following what’s been going on with the supermarkets, you’ll know that we’ve been told it won’t happen for the past week, and alas and behold, it has.
“What took you so long to reach what appears to be an obvious conclusion?”
To be honest, Eustice said, “Well, it wasn’t clear.” “And last week, when things would peak and level off in terms of people being asked to isolate, there was an element of uncertainty here, and at the end of last week, supermarkets reported that, while there were certainly pressures and delivery times were slipping, we judged it to be still manageable.
“The industry stated that there were issues, but we’ll keep an eye on it.”
“I believe what happened was that we discovered there were more absences recorded on Monday and Tuesday, so we worked quickly to put in place the measures we need to keep the food supply chain running.”
“We’re never going to take chances with our food supply chain,” he continued.
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The government’s statement perplexed Stayt, who commented, “But presumably.” Brinkwire Summary News.