Whitehall chief ‘told ministers to panic buy lager after CO2 crisis summit’

  • Whitehall chief told ministers to ‘panic buy lager’ after a summit on energy crisis
  • Roger Hargreaves, director of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat – allegedly made the comments as he ended the call
  • Meeting was convened as soaring energy prices sparked fears of food shortages

A Whitehall chief told ministers to ‘panic buy lager’ after a summit on the CO2 crisis, it was claimed yesterday.

Roger Hargreaves, director of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat – the Cabinet Office unit responsible for responding to major emergencies – allegedly made the comments as he ended the call.

Mr Hargreaves said: ‘I’ll leave you to your evenings – go and panic buy lager or whatever,’ website Politico reported. 

A Whitehall chief told ministers to ‘panic buy lager’ after a summit on the CO2 crisis, it was claimed yesterday (stock image)

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and Cabinet Office Minister Steve Barclay convened the meeting as soaring energy prices sparked fears of food shortages.

The Cabinet Office did not respond to a request for comment.

It comes as Tesco bosses warn that the sight of empty shelves could get ‘ten times worse’ before Christmas and trigger panic buying.

Britain’s biggest retailer said a chronic shortage of delivery drivers will make it impossible to move goods to stores during the busy festive season.

Gaps have been seen on shelves for months as a result of the delivery crisis, while big chains including McDonald’s and Wetherspoons have apologised to customers for shortages.

Meeting was convened as soaring energy prices sparked fears of food shortages and as Tesco bosses warn that the sight of empty shelves could get ‘ten times worse’ before Christmas

Poultry industry bosses have warned of a lack of fresh turkeys and others have suggested problems with deliveries of toys and many other goods.

Now Tesco’s UK distribution chief Andrew Woolfenden has said the situation is set to escalate. ‘Our concern is that the pictures of empty shelves will get ten times worse by Christmas and then we’ll get panic buying,’ he added.

The road haulage industry says there is a shortage of more than 90,000 skilled HGV drivers.

Industry leaders say the only solution is to create an emergency visa to allow thousands of truck drivers from EU countries into Britain to make sure the economy does not grind to a halt.

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