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Coronavirus: Supermarkets accuse Matt Hancock of lying about food supply plans

2 min read

Supermarkets have accused Matt Hancock of lying after the Health Secretary claimed that ministers had been working with them to ensure food will be delivered to people in self-isolation for coronavirus testing.

Mr Hancock said on BBC Question Time on Thursday that the Government was in discussion with supermarkets about the issue.

“We are working with the supermarkets to make sure that, if people are self-isolating, then we will be able to get the food and supplies that they need,” he said.

But supermarket sources told the BBC they had not discussed delivering food to homes.

An executive said: "Matt Hancock has totally made up what he said about working with supermarkets. We haven't heard anything from government directly."

They added that sales of cupboard basics such as pasta and tinned goods had "gone through the roof".

Teams at the supermarket were working "round the clock" to restock shelves and keep up with demand, they said.

"We are using processes and staffing levels we set up in case of a no-deal Brexit."

The executive added: "While I think people don't need to panic buy and should just shop normally, I'm not sure the government can guarantee all food supply in all instances."

A senior executive of one supermarket chain meanwhile accused Mr Hancock of lying about their involvement in preparations.

“I am really angry about it,” they said.

Another supermarket boss said the Department of Health had only contacted his company for the first time yesterday.

A government spokesperson said officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had met regularly with representatives of industry bodies who represented the leading supermarkets.

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