Toys, clothes, chocolate, ceramics and toilet roll could all be in short supply this winter due to staff shortages, soaring energy bills and global supply chain woes.
The Confederation of Paper Industries said important sectors including food packaging and the production of sterile medical packaging were being impacted.
Director general Andrew Large said members are being ‘affected very severely’ as costs ‘go up through the roof’.
Some manufacturers were reducing production to protect their profits. Mr Large said there is no cap on business energy costs, unlike for citizens.
He called for a ‘temporary winter cost containment measure to try and put a lid on those costs so that these very, very important industries for British society are going to be able to continue to operate’.
Spiralling energy bills could also force a slowdown in production of the original pandemic panic buy item – toilet rolls.
Last year steps were taken including limiting customers to one pack each to ensure there was enough to go around.
Wholesale gas prices surged to a record high on Wednesday, before quickly rebounding after President Vladimir Putin said Russia would stabilise the market.
But there’s the chance of ‘significant spikes’ in the cost of electricity after the UK lost a gigawatt of capacity through a key route.
The British Ceramic Confederation chief executive Laura Cohen said some businesses could be forced to shut.
She told the BBC: ‘As the high pricing extends, more members are likely to be forced to stop production due to uneconomical energy costs.
‘In the event of national supply shortfall, our members are near the front of the queue to be forced off the gas network while households are last, and this can happen at very short notice.
‘A forced quick shutdown runs a very high risk of severe damage to brick kilns, which can be 100 metres long, operating over 1,000C, and that can threaten business viability.’
Nestle said it was facing ‘challenges’ which could hit the availability of products such as its Quality Street chocolate range.
Walkers Shortbread in Scotland also warned yesterday that it is facing its most difficult time in its 120-year history due to a lack of staff.
The government is said to be increasingly worried about global supply chain issues, which are holding up ships and could hit availability of items such as toys and clothes ahead of Christmas. A senior minister told the i newspaper: ‘It’s a major problem.’
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