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Coronavirus: Cornish MP urges people to 'shop responsibly'

Coronavirus: Cornish MP urges people to 'shop responsibly'

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 1:51pm 22nd March 2020. (Updated at 1:54pm 22nd March 2020)

A Cornish MP is insisting that there is "more than enough food to go around" as supermarkets are left with empty shelves because of 'panic buyers'.

George Eustice, who represents Camborne and Redruth, led the Downing Street coronavirus press conference on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Eustice, who is also the Environment Secretary, spoke on behalf on the government as he reassured people that shops will be able to cope with demand.

But he is urging people to be sensible when they shop.

"There is more than enough food to go round and our food supply chain is able to expand production to cope with increased demand.

"Be responsible when you shop and think of others.

"Buying more than you need means that others may be left without and it is making life more difficult for those front line workers, such as our doctors and nurses and NHS support staff."

George Eustice, Environment Secretary and MP for Camborne and Redruth

coronavirus tesco redruth

Asked whether the government could step in and put legal limits on what people could buy, Mr Eustice said the supermarkets were already limiting what people purchase.

"All of the major retailers are working together and exercising their own judgement on where it's appropriate to put limits - item limits - on certain issues," he said.

"Toilet roll is one, where, for reasons that are not really known, there was a spike early on, despite the fact that toilet roll is made in this country and they are able to expand production very quickly."

George Eustice, Environment Secretary and MP for Camborne and Redruth

When asked whether he would rule out the possibility of rationing or ration books, Mr Eustice restated that supermarkets were best placed to judge what limits should be put in place.

coronavirus tesco redruth

He was also asked whether it could be possible for the government, or maybe the military, to step in to make sure the goods could get to the supermarket.

He said: "We are obviously giving increasing thought within government over how we will protect those who may be self-isolating because they are vulnerable and I know more will be said about this in due course."

George Eustice, Environment Secretary and MP for Camborne and Redruth

Mr Eustice said that talks were ongoing with supermarkets to ensure that enough stock was making its way through to the food banks.

He added that the government was keeping "a close eye" on profiteering amid concerns some products have been sold online for inflated prices.

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