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Hospitality warns on gas shortage

The Scottish Hospitality Group has warned that the impact of CO2 shortages would be felt in pubs and bars of all sizes.

The organisation joined the Food and Drink Federation, whose CEO Ian Wright told the BBC: “We have been saying for several weeks now that the ‘just in time’ system which underpins our supermarkets and our hospitality industry is under the most strain it has ever been in the 40 years it has been there.

“We probably have about 10 days before this gets to the points where consumers, shoppers and diners notice that those products are not available.”

Wright called on the government to help restart production at the two fertiliser plants and commission more research into CO2 alternatives. He also called for a solution to staff shortages.

Nick Allen, CEO, British Meat Processors Association, said: “This crisis highlights the fact that the British food supply chain is at the mercy of a small number of major fertiliser producers spread across northern Europe. We rely on a by-product from their production process to keep Britain's food chain moving.”

The government was expected to announce a plan to deal with the issue later today (Tuesday).

Last night a joint statement from Kwasi Kwarteng, Business and Energy Secretary, and Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem CEO, said: “The recent increase in wholesale global gas prices continues to be a cause of concern for consumers, businesses and energy suppliers across the UK.

“We want to be clear that this is not an issue of supply – the United Kingdom benefits from having a diverse range of gas supply sources with capacity that can more than meet demand.

“This morning we hosted a roundtable with leading energy suppliers and consumer groups to hear about the challenges they currently face. There was overarching consensus among meeting participants that the top priority must be ongoing support for energy customers, especially the elderly and vulnerable. In the event an energy supplier fails, we are committed that consumers face the least amount of disruption possible – and there are clear and well-established processes in place to ensuring this is the case.

“In the coming days, we will also meet with smaller and challenger energy suppliers and set out the next steps for protecting consumers, businesses and energy suppliers from these global prices rises. Central to any next steps is our clear and agreed position that the Energy Price Cap will remain in place.”


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